BOSTON (CBS) – The Red Sox have won three straight games and appear to be getting their season back on track as they go for the sweep Thursday over Atlanta.
But things still aren’t all that rosy for the defending champions, and it’s never looked as ugly as it did this weekend in Tampa Bay.
On Sunday, the hometown team was on the verge of getting swept, down five runs in the seventh inning when Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar stole third base. This didn’t sit well with members of the Red Sox dugout, and a bench clearing brawl ensued.
Okay, so it wasn’t much of a brawl. But it was certainly an incident.
Watch it unfold here:
On the NESN broadcast cameras panned to catcher David Ross, a regular guest of 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show, and Ross was visibly frustrated and appeared to be yelling at Escobar.
The 37-year-old vet joined T&R Thursday morning to clear the air about what happened.
“I got a bad rap for that one. I think the TV made me out to be the evil villain. The umpire came over and was yelling for us to calm down. I was the one standing on the rail and the umpire started yelling at me. So I yelled at the umpire, ‘Don’t yell at me I didn’t say anything.’ So it looked like I was yelling at Escobar but I was really yelling at [umpire] Angel Hernandez,” said Ross.
Well that sure explains a lot.
Ross added that “When you’re down five after losing nine in a row it feels like you’re down by 30,” and they were more frustrated by the losing streak than the act of stealing a base with a big lead late in the game.
Ross did acknowledge that some of the unwritten rules in baseball are kind of dumb, and Rays manager Joe Maddon pointed out after the game that the Red Sox were acting hypocritical because they did the same thing up five in the playoffs last year, but to Ross five runs is “not that big of a lead” in Fenway Park.
So if Ross didn’t say anything to Escobar, how did things escalate so quickly?
“I didn’t say WE weren’t saying anything. I just said I wasn’t,” Ross joked. “He stole and some guys were yelling. I was one of the ones not too happy about it. I think he saw some guys yelling and I think he overreacted too with taking off his helmet and walking towards our dugout. That pissed me off too I’m just going to be honest. That’s when Jonny [Gomes] came in. You don’t take your helmet off, start walking towards our dugout yelling and pointing. That’s grounds for what happened I think.”
Gomes has been the butt of many jokes by fans and the media for his outlandish comments and antics, but Ross appreciates Gomes stepping up for the team like that and intervening the situation with Escobar.
“[Gomes] is one of our leaders. He’s one of the guys that sets the tone for us. When you’ve lost nine in a row and you’re down five it feels like you’re down 30, so there was some frustration there and especially getting ready to get swept by Tampa Bay. Your emotions are high. We’re a bunch of professionals but we don’t like losing. We came off a season where you win the whole thing, and nine in a row is very foreign to us,” said Ross.
Rich shifted the conversation from the Tampa incident to pitcher Clay Buchholz, roughed up once again in his Memorial Day start in Atlanta where he failed to make it out of the fourth inning.
Buchholz said afterwards that the 84-degree heat bothered him, as well as running to first base after a hit in his lone at bat. Manager John Farrell came to his pitcher’s defense and even told the media that he lost seven pounds during the brief outing.
David Ross caught for the Braves for four years and can speak to the heat and humidity of Atlanta.
“It can wear you down. I think you can lose five pounds of water weight pretty fast,” adding, “Clay is not like me. I’ve got plenty of reserves in my love handles. I’ve got plenty to burn. He’s a little thinner than I am.”
Ross noted that the Red Sox have played in just three games above 60 degrees so far this season, so the jump up to 84 was definitely noticeable especially with the humidity.
Listen below for the full interview: