June 10, 2011
But afterward, a steamed Papi seemed convinced there were other forces that prodded the plunking — namely the series-long conversation about beanings and how Ortiz had never been hit by a pitch in 160 games against the Yankees.
That his own pitcher — Josh Beckett(notes) — had hit Derek Jeter(notes) and Alex Rodriguez(notes) earlier in the game apparently didn't enter Ortiz's mind. Neither did his bat flip in Tuesday's series opener or Jon Lester(notes) hitting two other Yankee hitters in that same game.
Ortiz seemed agitated and angry when he turned to speak with the media after the game, first announcing that he would not take questions. Then he said, "I just want to thank you guy(s) — not all of you, most of you — for the stat today: me not getting hit by the Yankees. I finally got hit. I hope you (jerks) are happy."
Next Ortiz called the group "unprofessional."
He concluded the interview by saying, "You guys like to criticize us when we (mess) up. Criticize yourself now ... I'm not talking no more. Good night."
Others in both clubhouses, though, were willing to talk. Sabathia issue the age-old claim of the pitch just getting away from him (smirk). Beckett acknowledged that his poor control on inside pitches — a HBP of Curtis Granderson(notes) in the fifth made it three on the night — may have also played a big role in stinging Ortiz's feelings as well as his meaty right thigh.
Hey, look, there's no question that the media's coverage of the issue framed it into an easy paint-by-numbers drama. So the New York tabloids can take credit for setting the table, especially considering it was up for debate how upset the Yankees were over that bat flip in the first place.
But Thursday's happenings might not take place had Beckett not thrown the whole thing into motion. Or if Ortiz's monster season so far makes him the choicest target in the Red Sox lineup. Or if the Yankees hadn't waited until Thursday to retaliate and had actually responded in the middle of Tuesday's game like other teams might have.
So, yeah, like in any Red Sox-Yankees series, there were a number of wheels whirring. Only one of them was being spun by the press and it's up to the rest of us to decipher how large of a role it played.