The full Maddon on benches-clearing incident with Red Sox
Excerpts from Rays manager Joe Maddon's comments about Sunday's benches-clearing incident as a result of the Red Sox's complaining about Yunel Escobar taking third with a five-run lead:
"They took umbrage with the fact that Escobar had stolen third base with … a five-run lead in the eighth inning. That's not even nearly as egregious as last year in the playoffs then, correct? Correct? Last year in the playoffs when they had an 8-2 lead in the eighth inning when Ellsbury led off with the single, and they stole second base and they ended up beating us 12-2 in that game. I think that was a little more egregious than their interpretation of tonight.
"I didn't take any exception when they stole on us last year in the eighth inning of a division series, 8-2 lead, Ellsbury on, they steal. I didn't take any. Our goal is to not permit them from scoring runs. Their goal is to score runs. The whole game. It's always been the goal within the game of baseball. Apparently some of the guys on their bench did not like that. I really wish they would roll back the tape and look at that more specifically. You have to keep your personal vendettas, your personal prejudices, your personal judgmental components in your back pocket. Before you start screaming regarding any of that, just understand what happened just last year and also understand that in this ballpark, 5-0 leads can evaporate very quickly."
On Sean Rodriguez also being ejected, apparently for yelling:
"Everyone was. I even talked to the umpires about that. That's inappropriate. He didn't do anything. He just yelled. Tell me among all the guys on the field who were not yelling. Tell me one. They're all yelling. They're all heated. That's a typical baseball fight. Push push push. Point finger, point finger. … That's typical. I told Larry (Vanover, the umpiring crew chief), I really don't like that one, whatever you want to do otherwise. He kicked out Gomes, appropriately. I don't even think Yunel. He was on third base after he stole the bag. And the onslaught comes from the dugout"
On former Ray Jonny Gomes being the aggressor:
"That was not surprising. Jon, in my minds-eye was totally just trying to liven this team a little bit. That's totally what that was all about."
Did Escobar over-react?
"It just depends on what was actually being said from the dugout. You always have to put yourself in that person's shoes. There's a lot of emotion in our game. I'd be surprised if he understood everything that was being said to him out there. I guess vitriol really translates to almost any language, because there's a lot of emotion attached to it. I'm certain, I would bet that the players that were screaming also added to the moment. Typical baseball situation, again, precipitated through really, really poor recollection of the past."
So you don't think they have much of a complaint about your guys running with a lead?
"I think it's ridiculous, actually. What was the score yesterday? (5-0) Poom. It happens. Teams come back from 5-0 leads all the time. 8-3. What's the difference? Our bullpen was short, and they knew that. That is a really poor argument. The point of the game is to score runs if you're on offense. The point of the game is to prevent runs when you're on defense. If they don't want him to steal third base, do a better job holding him onto second base. Last year when Ellsbury stole against us, that was my fault, our fault. We did not do a good job of holding Ellsbury on base. That was our fault, not their fault, for taking advantage of a weak moment in our part. Period."