Joe Maddon on Friday's tensions: 'I thought it was handled great'

Mike Petraglia
May 30, 2014 - 11:39 pm
Red Sox skipper John Farrell might have thought home plate umpire Dan Bellino and crew chief Jeff Kellogg let Friday night's game get out of control. Naturally, his counterpart in the Tampa Bay dugout saw things much differently. Joe Maddon was not only grateful that David Price wasn't ejected for hitting David Ortiz and Mike Carp, he thought it was the right call to make. "That was obvious that you're not trying to hit Carp right there," Maddon said of Price drilling the Red Sox first baseman in the fourth inning. "I thought the umpires utilized really good baseball judgment regarding how they handled it after Ortiz, they handled the rest of that really well. Of course, the ball at somebody's head is no fun to see that happened. Again, you have to get their side of the whole thing. I'm just saying from our side of things, it was not precipitated by what happened last week. "You know what? You let the players play. I'm a big believer in the players do a great job of policing one another. I try not to interfere with that kind of stuff. We'll see how it plays out [Saturday]. There's going to be no animosity from us to their side. Beginning of the game, we'll just see how it plays. Again, the umpires did a great job tonight." Maddon and Farrell were not warned formally before the game, to the surprise of some, including Price. But once the game start, Maddon had no issue with Price clearly hitting Ortiz in the middle of the back as retribution for Ortiz slow trot around the bases on two home runs off Price in last fall's ALDS Game 2. "For me, you let the players play, and you really try to not get involved in that, whether it's me as the manager or the umpires, let the players play," Maddon said. "I'm a big believer in the players' ability to police the game on their own. I really am. I thought the players did well tonight. I thought the umpires did well tonight. I thought it went well and I thought everything was handled properly." Maddon admitted that when Price hit Carp in the fourth inning, he wasn't sure if his starter would stay in the game. "I didn't know what they were going to do," Maddon said. "I thought Danny did a great job behind home plate. He used a lot of baseball acumen in understanding what was going on. Jeff Kellogg did the same thing. I thought it was handled great. "Tremendous. I thought it was a great game. It was handled great on the field by the umpires I thought. Well-played on both sides. Well-pitched on both sides. We had some opportunities, not a lot. They came back and beat us. You have to give them credit there." One thing Maddon made very clear was that he felt no connection between what happened last Sunday in St. Petersburg and what transpired Friday night at Fenway. "That's an easy assumption to make that what happened last week caused that," Maddon explained. "I don't agree with that. And it's always going to be viewed from the side [of each team]. Of course, I'm going to defend the Rays. The Red Sox are going to defend the Red Sox. Whether it's me [as] the manager or it's social media or whatever. That moment was not precipitated by what happened last week." As for Ortiz? "You have to pitch Ortiz inside and of course, that was a little bit too far inside," Maddon said, before offering this: "Is my tongue in my cheek?" Maddon says the recent tension between the two clubs is all about the standings, as the Red Sox, even with their fifth straight win Friday, stand in fourth place in the AL East at 25-29 while the Rays are bringing up the rear at 23-32. "We've been down this road with these guys for a while," Maddon said. "We're both at the bottom of our division. We're not used to that over the last several years. There's really a lot of pent up emotion over the last several years, not just a couple of days ago or about today. It's the way it is when you play each other that many times in the season, plus spring training games, too. In 2008, when we went to the Series, we played them 25, 26 times so you're going to have that. And that's just a part of it. You have to somewhat expect that. But I still believe there's a lot of respect flowing back and forth." "If you're a part of the Red Sox Nation, you're appalled by our behavior tonight. If you're part of the Rays Nation, you're [thinking], 'What's the big deal?'"