A buzz at Fenway
Clemens one-ups Martinez in duel marred by chaos
Let no one again suggest that the bad blood between the Red Sox and Yankees is mere front-office posturing or a thing of the past, even in the season of My Dinner with Manny.
Not after 72-year-old Yankee coach Don Zimmer, the former Red Sox manager, ended up being taken to the hospital in an ambulance last night for precautionary tests after he charged, with his hands raised, at Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez, who shoved Zimmer to the ground in front of the Sox dugout. That was the most shocking moment of a Fenway Park melee that reached its boiling point when Sox slugger Manny Ramirez took exception to a fastball from Yankee ace Roger Clemens that was at eye level -- but over the plate -- and started toward the mound, bat in hand, in the bottom of the fourth inning.
And let no one again question, after yesterday's 4-3 Yankee win over the Sox
in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series, whether Clemens can harness his emotions. Not after the future Hall of Famer kept his head while those all around him -- including Martinez in one rage-inducing episode when he plunked Karim Garcia -- were losing theirs in a reprise of his 1999 ALCS duel with Martinez that had far more of the white heat of a heavyweight title fight than the original, which had been billed as such.
"I'm not sure what happened," said Sox center fielder Johnny Damon, who returned after missing the first two games with a concussion and had three hits and scored a run, "if Pedro tried to hit him or what, but it doesn't look good. For all intents and purposes, they had a right to be upset."
The Yankees now lead the best-of-seven series, 2 games to 1, Mariano Rivera setting down the last six Sox batters before 34,209 fans hushed by the Yankees' second straight win. And while Martinez may be aces, he has been trumped more times than he has won against the Yankees, who are now 15-9 in games started by Martinez in the six years he has been with the Sox.
"I think when this series began, everyone knew it was going to be quite a battle, it was going to be very emotional, there was going to be a lot of intensity," Red Sox manager Grady Little said. "But I think we've upgraded it from a battle to a war."
The night took its ugliest turn in the middle of the ninth inning when a part-time member of the Red Sox grounds crew, identified by Sox officials as Paul Williams, who teaches mentally disabled children, became involved in a fight in the Yankee bullpen with reliever Jeff Nelson. As Boston police poured in to break up the fight, Yankee right fielder Garcia, who had vaulted over the low wall, appeared to injure his right hand throwing a punch and left the field bleeding. Juan Rivera took Garcia's place in the ninth. Continued...