Coco Crisp said his hard slide into Akinori Iwamura was payback for Tampa shortstop Jason Bartlett blocking the bag with his knee on Crisp's stolen base attempt two innings earlier.
He put his whole knee in front of the bag, and it's not something you do as an infielder. You can do that, but that's shady. And he's not a bad dude, but that's shady. It is what it is. You gonna hurt me, I'm going to come back and hurt you.A few minutes later, when Tampa manager Joe Maddon began yelling into the Red Sox dugout from the mound, Crisp yelled back:
If I would have intended to injure I wouldn't have slid at all. I would have just ran him over like he was a catcher. I went in hard to send a message. ... If Bartlett would have covered, might have been a little more dramatic.
I told him, "Look at me. Don't look down the street at Tito." ... I was saying I did that on my own, don't punish anyone else on the team. Don't get Petey, don't get Lugo, don't get AC [by] sliding hard at second base. Get me with a pitch. If you want to retaliate with somebody, I'm the man. That's pretty much it.That makes sense. But if Crisp feels that way, why did he slide into Iwamura to counter what Bartlett did? Isn't Bartlett "the man" in this case?
[Bartlett] didn't want to cover the bag the second time. They probably had it changed up because they thought Lugo was going to hit the ball to Bartlett's side or something like that. But if you're going to do something like that, I don't care what the situation is, take your own lickin'.It seems to me that if Crisp wants Tampa to deal solely with him if they decide to retaliate, then he should have waited for a chance to get back at Bartlett. Crisp went after a different Tampa player, so why should Tampa not go after another Red Sock?
Update: I missed this Crisp quote in which he said he told Bartlett in the sixth that if he got on base again, he'd deal with him at that point:
I was going in there to send a message. I did what I said I was going to do, unfortunately it was to the wrong person. I don't know why they didn't have Bartlett covering the bag.That answers my question.