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Red Sox

Felger & Mazz: The Big Papi Brush-Back Debacle

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Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Kevin Gregg (63) takes a swing at Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz as umpire Mike Estabrook looks on after they exchanged words after Ortiz flied out during the eighth inning of a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston Friday, July 8, 2011. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Kevin Gregg (63) takes a swing at Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz as umpire Mike Estabrook looks on after they exchanged words after Ortiz flied out during the eighth inning of a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston Friday, July 8, 2011. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

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With Felger & Massarotti trading places, and Mike taking the week off as Mazz returns to the studio, Tony was joined for Monday’s show by Marc “The Beatle” Bertrand. After Tony spent a few minutes lamenting the shortcomings of his trip to St. Martin, and the ineptitude of the Logan Airport baggage staff, the guys then went on to spend the bulk of the first hour discussing Friday night’s incident involving David Ortiz and Kevin Gregg.

Ortiz charged the mound following a harmless pop-out and a few controversial inside pitches from Gregg, and this is not the first time that aggressive pitching tactics have irked the Red Sox slugger. Tony and Marc are having a hard time figuring out why Big Papi continually responds so poorly to inside pitching, but it’s clear that, for whatever reason, he is especially sensitive about being thrown at.

That said, throwing inside to brush back hitters is an established part of baseball, and a very valid strategic tactic to make hitters feel uncomfortable. While Tony concedes that there is an undoubtedly a right and a wrong way to do so, he doesn’t feel that Gregg was in the wrong with what he did, and probably wasn’t even trying to hit Ortiz at the outset. With that in mind, who’s to blame for Friday’s fiasco? Was it Gregg’s fault for pitching as he did, or is Ortiz to blame for glaring at the mound and responding in an inappropriate manner? Is Papi right to be so insulted about being thrown at, or should he respect a pitcher’s right to try and get an edge against him, especially when they’re only throwing low and inside instead of up underneath the chin?

Ortiz’s response to Friday’s events makes it seem like the wussification of America’s pastime has already gone farther than many baseball purists would like. Should pitchers have the right to throw inside, or should they genuflect and pay hommage when throwing to hitters like David Ortiz? Tune in now for Tony and Marc’s thoughts, or call in to let us know where you stand!

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