Rays pitcher Chris Archer rips David Ortiz for 30-second home run trot (videos)
Like many pitchers before him, Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Chris Archer found himself victimized by a demonstration of clutch hitting power from Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz.
With the Rays and Red Sox tied at zero in the top of the 3rd inning, Big Papi uncorked on a Archer offering for a three-run homer. The round-tripper accounted for all the runs Boston would need on Sunday in the team’s 3-2 victory over their division rivals.
It wasn’t so much the three-run bomb that left Archer angry following the game — although that probably stuck in his craw as well — it was how Ortiz conducted himself as he took his sweet old time rounding the bases after flippantly tossing his bat as he admired the home run.
In an age where players flip bats with great bravado has become much more commonplace than it was in previous eras — in the good old days, any batter that dared show up a pitcher in such an egregious manner would have been either plunked or found themselves on the receiving end of pitch under the chin — the manner in which Ortiz so demonstratively tossed his bat arguably went beyond the pale, even by today’s standards (GIF via Business Insider):
Not only that, Ortiz proceeded to take an astounding 30 seconds to round the bases, the fifth time it has taken him more than a half-minute to circle the bases.
Of the top 10 slowest home run trots in the MLB this season, Ortiz owned six of them heading into Sunday’s display of showboating, according to Tater Trot Tracker. He even broke the unofficial record during a leisurely 32.91-second home run trot earlier this season.
Clearly miffed, Archer unloaded on Oritz following the game, saying that type of behavior is symptomatic of a player whose perceptively unchecked ego causes him to believe that he is a bigger story on his own than the game itself, a sentiment that echoed David Price’s comments about Ortiz earlier this season.
It is suspected that the reason why Ortiz mugged and flipped and then casually sauntered was in response to Price plunking him earlier this season, something that prompted a bench-clearing incident between the teams.
Following the on-field fracas, Price argued that the kind of conduct Ortiz routinely displays indicates the designated hitter thinks he’s “bigger than the game.”
“I think it was a perfect example of what (David) Price said,” Archer commented when asked about Ortiz doing his best interpretation of the speed of molasses in January as he rounded the bases.
“All my interactions with (Ortiz) off the field have been good, but when it comes to him on the field, I don’t know what makes him think he can showboat the way he does and then nobody retaliate, nobody look at him in a funny way, nobody pitch him inside,” Archer told The Tampa Tribune. “I don’t know why he feels like that. But obviously, he feels the way (Price) said he does. He feels like he’s bigger than the game. He feels like the show is all about him.”
When asked for his reaction to Archer’s comments, Ortiz appeared annoyed, if not nonplussed, about the assertion that he’s inclined to showboat.
“Whatever, dude,” Ortiz said after the game. “There’s always going to be comments out there. He’s not the right guy to be saying that. He’s got two days in the league, you can’t just be (expletive) and complaining about (expletive) like that.”
Of course, as the old saying goes, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander in that Archer has been known to engage in the same kind of shenanigans in the past he’s accusing Ortiz of doing.
Last season, Archer demonstratively stormed off the mound and tauntingly kissed his bicep after striking out Daniel Nava in a game against the Red Sox.
The Red Sox and Rays are constantly sniping at the other side and these kind of extracurricular activities are only exacerbating the issue. But is sure makes for great theater, though. This kind of barely contained animosity between division rivals is exactly what Major League Baseball needs. Give the doldrums of midsummer a shot in the arm, so to speak. So long as there is no literal “shot in the arm” to speak of and no one is getting seriously injured by a beanball or during bench-clearing brawl. The more of it the better.