ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (620 WDAE) -- The Boston Red Sox probably thought they needed something to rally around.
With the Tampa Bay Rays leading 8-3 in the seventh inning after Yunel Escobar's two-run double chased reliever Craig Breslow, Escobar decided if Boston's defense was going to give him third base, he was going to take it. Red Sox players thought it unfair, and after hearing catcher A.J. Pierzynski chirping from behind home plate and David Ross from the Boston dugout, outfielder Jonny Gomes felt it was his responsibility to come in from left field and get in Escobar's face.
Watch the bench-clearing incident from Sunday!
The Red Sox likely believed it would bring them momentum. All it brought them was their tenth loss in a row, along with the recurring notion that their players feel they should be beneficiaries of a double standard: that it's ok for Boston to run up a score, but God forbid if someone does the same to them.
Manager Joe Maddon afterwards made that exact point.
"That's not even as egregious as last year in the playoffs," the Rays skipper pointed out. "Last year in the playoffs when they had an 8-2 lead in the eighth inning, [Jacoby] Ellsbury led off with a single and they stole second base, beating us 12-2. I think that was a bit more egregious than their interpretation tonight."
Both the Red Sox and Rays came in to this three-game weekend series slumping badly. The Rays were able to turn things around at Boston's expense, and the Red Sox players wanted to try and gain some sort of moral victory by complaining about some "unwritten" rule that they only bring up when it suits them.
In my book, that makes them crybabies.
You can't win on the field, so you decide that a little extracurricular activity is the only course of action to try and save whatever shred of dignity may still be lingering following two heaping handfuls of defeat.
Memo to Boston: Joe Maddon and his squad aren't buying it.
"I didn't take any exception when they stole on us last year in the Division Series of the playoffs, 8-2 lead, Ellsbury on, they steal," Maddon explained. "I didn't take any because our goal is to not permit them scoring runs. Their goal is to score runs. The whole game. That's always been the goal within the game of baseball."
To broaden a sign that is ever-present in the Rays clubhouse: "If you don't like it, play better."
The best part about this incident is that it isn't just the Tampa Bay reporters that are sitting up and taking notice about the tantrum that occurred on the field in St. Petersburg. Even Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy's opinion turned against his local team.
Red Sox objection to Rays taking an extra base in the 7th inning of an 8-3 game is more embarrassing than losing 10 straight. #Losers— Dan Shaughnessy (@Dan_Shaughnessy) May 25, 2014
Meanwhile, the Rays team seems to have bonded because of what went on over the weekend. The smiles in the clubhouse have returned, and things appear to be heading in the right direction.
These two teams will meet again next weekend, this time at Fenway Park, and the Rays can give themselves a huge advantage in the standings by continuing their domination with another series win.
That might in turn bring tears to Rays fans' eyes. Tears of joy.