For those who missed it, an obviously agitated David Ortiz interrupted Tito's press conference Wednesday night with something weighing heavy on his mind.
NECN (video won't embed)
Ortiz said "I'm [bleeping] pissed. We need to have a talk . . . you and me" before the manager and designated hitter agreed to talk about things at a more appropriate time.
Then Ortiz gave away exactly what was bothering him when he muttered "[Bleepin'] scorekeeper always [bleepin'] [bleep] up" while exiting the room.
Ortiz was most certainly upset about a change made by official scorer Chaz Scoggins in Wednesday night's game that turned his first inning two-run single into a one-run single with an error on the left fielder allowing the second run to score. That means an RBI was taken away from Ortiz midway through the game, and he was upset enough about it to bust up Francona's daily pregame meeting with the press with a few choice words.
When approached later in the clubhouse, Ortiz declined comment comment on the incident except to say it was "between me and Tito."
Today on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan, Scoggins explained his decision:
On the play in question during Wednesday night's game, the Red Sox had runners on second and third in the bottom of the first inning. Ortiz singled to left-center, where outfielder Austin Kearns bobbled the ball, and two runs scored. Scoggins initially gave Ortiz two RBIs as he determined the Red Sox' second baserunner, Kevin Youkilis, was heading home anyhow. But he later took away one of the RBIs.
Asked why he changed his scoring, Scoggins explained: "About two innings later, the Cleveland PR guy came over and told me their pitching coach had called him and told him that [Red Sox third base coach Tim] Bogar had put up a stop sign on Youkilis. I told him I didn't see the stop sign and I had looked immediately to see what the coach was doing and he'd waved him home. He said, 'Well, it's on tape somewhere.'
"So, I went back and reviewed the NESN tape. On their replay, sure enough, you could see Bogar throw up his hands to stop Youkilis until the ball was bobbled by Kearns, and then he waved him home. It was only an instant. He never really got his hands up all the way. But clearly, his intent was to stop Youkilis, even though there were two outs, until he saw the bobble.
"At that, I felt I could not give Ortiz two RBIs on that when the intent was to stop Youilis at third."
Scoggins, who writes for the Lowell Sun, said Ortiz' disappointment is not unusual, nor will it affect that way he scores games.
"I've been doing this for 34 years, official scoring, and I'm used to players being upset. So much of official scoring is objective. It's easy to understand why players think the way they do and why scorers think the way they do. It's inevitable that there's going to be conflict. I've never had any problem with it, as long as it doesn't get personal or confrontational."
A few observations:
* The interruption was a bit awkward, more so because of TIto's well-known distaste for interruptions during PCs. He'll sternly address anyone whose cell phone rings or beeps, or does anything disruptive, so it was a little odd for him to just laugh off Ortiz's barge-in. But it's another display of how Tito is a players' manager first and foremost, where he avoids doing or saying anything to upstage his guys even if it's warranted (his restraint following Lackey's recent over-reaction to being pulled from a start was yet another example).
* Obviously in hindsight, Ortiz would have been better served by just telling Pam Ganley (or whoever was at the side door) to be sure Tito knew he wanted to speak with him in private. And bitching out loud about the scoring decision was another regrettable move, especially for a veteran player viewed by many fans as being even-keeled for the most part. But really, it's just an athlete blowing off steam in the immediate aftermath of an event. The press is making far too big a stink about it, which of course is their modus operandi in this town.
* Many fans (and press members) are chiding Ortiz for (A) selfishly putting his stats above the team, and (B) caring way too much about a stat (RBI) and quantity (one) that they see as ranging from trivial to meaningless depending on perspective. On point A, again it was a gut reaction from him. Players have long held that they're judged by the folks that matter based on certain marks in the stat column. For many, even the most basic stats are what help drive them to achieve, as counter-intuitive as it may seem to those of us on the outside. For power hitters, it's all about the HRs and RBIs in their minds. As for point B, anyone who believes more than a handful of MLB players are aware of the sabermetric re-hashing of the RBI's viability over the past decade is kidding themselves.
* Scoggins' writings have given readers plenty of reasons to take issue with him over the decades, but I really have no problem with his scoring decision. The only slight head-scratcher is using the third base coach's signs as a bellwether for doling out or denying credit to a batter. Either the fielder's play allowed the run to score, or it didn't. Whether Bogar stopped the runner and re-sent him, or was waving him home all the way, is immaterial.
Any problems here with Ortiz's reactions, either his interrupting Tito or vocalizing his distaste for a scorer's decision, both within earshot of the entire Red Sox press corps and their microphones? Did Tito handle it properly? Any issues with Scoggins' decision and/or explanation?
Edited by mabrowndog, 05 August 2011 - 10:14 AM.