So if you somehow missed what happened last night, the bottom of the eighth inning featured some fireworks, though the Fourth was over on Monday. It started when Orioles pitcher Kevin Gregg hurled a few pitches in tight to David Ortiz - one coming so close that Papi took a few steps toward the mound, brandishing his bat at the O's righthander.
With the count at 3-0, Ortiz took a hack at the next pitch, which he popped up toward shallow right field. Big Papi, obviously disgusted, began to jog slowly toward first base, when Gregg decided to take this opportunity to teach the Sox slugger about "baseball ethics," shouting and geturing at him to run out the play.
Needless to sat, Big Papi took exception to this, and charged the mound, just missing Gregg's face with a vicious uppercut before the benches (and bullpens) cleared and Demarlo Hale restrained him. Papi, Gregg, Jarrod Saltalamacchia (from the bullpen), and Baltimore relief pitcher Jim Johnson (also from the pen) were all ejected for their roles in the scrum.
I know it's not exactly professional to reveal my glee at baseball fights, but I just LOVE the way it causes teams to come together. Remember in 2004? There are a lot of people who credit Tek stuffing his glove in A*Rod's face as the catalyst that turned that season around for good. And don't even pretend you weren't impressed with Coco Crisp's Matrix-impression against James Shields in 2008.
After the game, Papi's teammates certainly had his back, though Gregg and the O's uttered their share of tough talking. Josh Beckett took the opportunity to express his confidence in the Red Sox's productive lineup: "Maybe they saw something they didn't like or whatever. But if it's just because we scored eight runs in the first inning and they start throwing at our ... guys, it's going to be a long year."
Hell. Yes. There's a lot more baseball to be played, and I am beyond excited to see this season to the end.