Next day, fingers still point

Published Aug. 31, 2000|Updated Sept. 27, 2005

Devils Rays, Red Sox trade accusations of cheap shots and cowardice.

There were no punches or bean balls thrown in Wednesday's game between the Devil Rays and the Red Sox, but that didn't stop the words from flying.

Among the most pointed:

The Devil Rays continued their condemnation of Boston's Brian Daubach, sending videotapes to the commissioner's office that they say support their claim he threw "sucker punches" and "cheap shots" during Tuesday's first-inning melee. "There's no place in baseball for what he did," Roberto Hernandez said.

Boston's Jason Varitek said the Rays "embarrassed themselves" with their actions, which resulted in eight Tampa Bay ejections. Rays general manager Chuck LaMar's response? "Absolutely not."

Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez, who started everything by hitting Gerald Williams in the first inning, mocked Williams for being "scared" at the bottom of the pile. "He was crying," Martinez told Boston media late Tuesday. "I could hear him crying, "Get them off me! Get them off me!' " Martinez then took another shot in a Boston TV interview, saying, "There's no crying in baseball."

Rays manager Larry Rothschild jabbed back, saying that when Martinez hit Jose Guillen in a game two weeks ago, just after Miguel Cairo hit a three-run home run, Martinez "hid behind the mask that his arm was sore and the ball got away from him. I guess there's no crying in baseball, so I don't buy that story, either."

Tuesday's controversy seemed to end with the final out in the ninth inning, but there apparently was a chance for further developments after the game.

Williams, accompanied by teammates Greg Vaughn and Bobby Smith, waited for Martinez in the tunnel outside the clubhouses that leads to the stadium exit.

Security officials, apparently concerned about the potential for further trouble, quickly summoned additional manpower.

But Williams said Wednesday he merely wanted to talk with Martinez.

"All I wanted to do was have a conversation," Williams said. "It's not so much what I was going to say to him. I was more interested in what he would have to say to me."

Security offered to take Martinez out of the stadium through a different exit, but he declined. By the time Martinez was ready to leave, Williams and Co. had left anyway.

"I went out the way I came in," Martinez said. "I don't need to go any different way. Nothing happened with me. There's nothing going on."

Otherwise, there were no official developments the day after the ugly incidents that made national headlines.

Williams most likely is going to be suspended for charging the mound and throwing a punch at Martinez, as well as for coming back on the field several innings after being ejected, but LaMar said that issue didn't come up during multiple phone calls with Major League Baseball officials Wednesday.

Williams insisted he wasn't worried: "I'm not concerned about that type of thing."

There also is a possibility Rothschild could be disciplined for his comments Tuesday implying the Rays were throwing at Daubach intentionally.

Daubach, who was injured in the brawl, went back to Boston with an injured left elbow that, while not broken, might be hyperextended and could keep him out for a few weeks. Third baseman Lou Merloni was out of the lineup after spending Tuesday night in a hospital with a concussion.

"We've got to play who we've got," Boston manager Jimy Williams said. "Have to keep going, keep playing. There are no excuses, no sour grapes, no nothing. We just have to play."

Though the game and extracurricular activities were distasteful in several ways, Varitek put the onus on the Rays. "I think of all things, they embarrassed themselves," he said.

LaMar said MLB disciplinarian Frank Robinson called him to discuss the incidents _ "Whether they beat me to the punch, no pun intended, could be debated," he said _ and he welcomed the opportunity to tell the Rays' side of the story.

"Any time you get eight people ejected from a baseball game, the immediate thought is, "What's wrong with the Devil Rays?' But there was more to it than that," LaMar said.

The Rays felt unequivocally that Martinez hit Williams intentionally, LaMar said: "No question in our mind."

Accordingly, the Rays thought he should have been ejected, but they are not protesting a judgment call by what LaMar said is "one of the finest" umpiring crews in the league.

But they apparently are pushing the idea that Daubach should be disciplined.

"We sent them several tapes from several different angles," LaMar said. "This organization is extremely upset with what took place during the fight and Mr. Daubach's actions. We don't think he should have done what he did."

Both managers spoke to their players before Wednesday's game in an effort to prevent further escalation, and it seemed to work.

But there still was plenty to talk about.

_ Staff writers Mike Readling and Bruce Lowitt contributed to this report.