Papi Apologizes To Fans, Felt ‘Pushed’ To Fight

BOSTON (AP/CBS) – Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz said he is not the fighting kind, but was pushed into the bench clearing tussle Friday night against Kevin Gregg and the Baltimore Orioles.

“That isn’t me. I haven’t fought since I was in kindergarten,” Ortiz said Saturday afternoon. “That’s not what the fans come to see. That’s not part of my personality.”

“I apologize to our fans for that kind of show,” he added. “You don’t feel proud of a situation like that. I’m the kind of person; I don’t like to be pushed. I feel like I was kind of pushed.”

Gregg threw three pitches inside to Ortiz. After the third one, Ortiz let him know he did not appreciate it. Benches cleared but nothing much happened. After Ortiz flied out on the next pitch, a 3-0 pitch, Gregg told him to run down to first base, which Papi took exception to.

“The whole situation started, this is a guy that I’ve always faced and he doesn’t pitch in. He threw a whole bunch of pitches inside. I’m pretty sure he was trying to hit me, no question about that,” said Ortiz, who was 2-for-3 in the game with a home run. “After I hit the fly ball he started screaming at me. I’m not going to take that like a little (expletive deleted). This is a grown-ass man here; you have to be aware of the situation.”

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“You saw the argument before. After that you’re going to act like you’re my daddy,” said Ortiz.“I’m not going to take that. Everyone’s a grown-ass man here. If you want respect you have to respect.”

Gregg was ejected immediately for the heckling of Ortiz. Papi charged the mound and the two exchanged punches that landed nothing but air. When it was all said and done, both were ejected and could face suspensions after the All-Star break.

Ortiz did not speak with the media after the game, but the Orioles reliever was sure to clear the air.

“I think you show them that we’re not backing down. We’re not scared of them; them and their $180 million payroll,” said Gregg. “We don’t care. We’re here to play the game. We have just as much right to play the game here and we’re going to do everything we can to win.”

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“They’re going to whine and complain about it because they think they’re better than everybody else, but no, we have just as much right to pitch inside as they do,” he continued. “This is a team sport. I take offense to every run scored off every one of our pitchers. I take offense to every one of our hitters that’s hit every time I’m out there. You get tired of getting your butt kicked every night when you come in here and I’m going to stick up for what’s ours and try to get the plate back.”

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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  • karen s in ny

    papi- you are the bigger man, for extending the apology. little gregg has a ton of growing up to do. in american culture, you might address a boy as “master,” but he has not even achieved that level of being addressed. where someone might call you mr. ortiz as a sign of respect, little gregg is all that i can politely muster for the oriole pitcher. you have always been honest, and committed to your roots in the dominican republic and your home(s) here in the states. i’ve had the chance to meet you a few times – a highlight memory for me. i want you to know, that at 58 years old, this gal absolutely has your back. the league should not punish you heavily for all the good you do for the game, and the fans you have in many places. thanks papi!

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  • Rocky 5000

    Fight, what fight? The benches empty, punches are thrown but none connected so where’s the fight. This is baseball where a fight is usually one big wrestling match between a bunch of whipped cream pie throwing fancy boys. One punch and they would be on the disabled list for an entire season.

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