By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — On Wednesday night at Fenway Park, a bunch of professional athletes in their 20s and 30s ran toward each other to engage in a fight. Many of the men are currently at the peak of their physical prowess.
And then there was Phil Nevin. The 47-year-old former big leaguer is slightly past his own physical prime, one that he spent playing 12 MLB seasons for seven different teams. But the guy has been around a big league brawl or two in his day, and after Tyler Austin charged Joe Kelly in response to a fastball to the shoulder blades, the juices started flowing for Nevin.
Now the third base coach for the Yankees, Nevin was only passively involved at the outset of Wednesday night’s fight. He trotted in and grabbed Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez. The two hugged it out, far from the epicenter of destruction, seemingly content to wait it out by the foul line.
After the dust had settled, Nevin was kind of waddling around, strutting a bit, staring menacingly into the Boston dugout, and letting it rip with some sweet spitting techniques. (Nobody’s better at expectorating than big leaguers. How do they do it?!) Nevin was eventually removed from the mayhem by a fellow coach, and that appeared to be that. But then something happened. What it was, we do not know. But a switch flipped within Nevin and he lost his temper.
He came bolting across the home plate area, making a beeline for the Red Sox dugout before being intercepted by the umpiring crew. Nevin was rip-roaring mad! What could have possibly gotten the third-base coach so hot under the collar?!
These were the mysteries
many of us a few of us wondered aloud. But that’s because we weren’t watching the YES Network. The Yankees’ home broadcast had a camera on Red Sox manager Alex Cora in the dugout (no surprise to learn that the YES Network had a camera focused in on the Boston dugout, eh?), and it showed the first-year skipper belittling Nevin in dismissive fashion.
See for yourself:
“Get in your box.” Ouch. That’s going to leave a mark. Nobody can fault the man for blowing his top. Even the coolest of customers might flip his lid after being bombarded with that level of vituperation. And you can bet the New York writers will be putting it in the paper. It’s serious stuff, and it should be treated as such.
Nevin rightfully displayed zero regret for his on-field temper tantrum, but instead reasonably lamented his choice of wardrobe.
“I know one thing,” Nevin declared. “I’m gonna wear less layers tomorrow because, jeez, I look fat in all those. My sweatshirt and everything, my jersey. I’m certainly doing that. I can freeze to death but I don’t want to look like that on the field anymore.”
Nevin ended up getting ejected from the game, which you really don’t see quite often out of third base coach. But at least we now know what made him the most upset. The man was told to get back in his box. It doesn’t get much rougher than that.