Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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Rays, Yankees sticking to party lines
Posted Mar 13, 2008 by Marc Lancaster
Updated Mar 13, 2008 at 05:04 PM
FORT MYERS—Shelley Duncan went to the videotape and came away as confident as ever he did nothing wrong in sliding spikes-up into Akinori Iwamura yesterday to incite a bench-clearing brawl.
“I saw it a couple times,” Duncan said today, according to the Associated Press. “I still don’t understand why they were as upset as they were.”
Duncan had no direct response to the Rays’ comments, including Joe Maddon calling the play “borderline criminal.”
“The words that come from another team don’t affect me,” Duncan said. “It doesn’t bother me. They won’t change how I play the game. I’ll continue to play the game as hard as I can. What matters to me the most is the respect of my coaching staff and my teammates.”
Duncan apparently met with Joe Girardi early this morning. Haven’t read anything about Girardi’s take on it yet today. He said yesterday he wanted to see a tape of the play before determining what he thought of it.
Maddon knows what he saw.
“I stand by what we said, I stand by our interpretation of the play, I will not back down for a minute, I know we are right in this regard,” Maddon this morning. “It’s up to them to spin it the way they would like to spin it – that is entirely up to them. I know what happened. Everybody that saw it knows what happened. It’s indisputable what happened. Bring on the spin doctors.”
Maddon said yesterday that Duncan “absolutely” should be suspended for his actions. Asked about it again this morning, he said any such decision is out of his hands and he’ll stay out of it.
“It’s up to MLB to create the sanctions that they deem necessary at this point and I have full faith that they will come down with the proper decisions,” he said.
Does Maddon consider the feud over?
“I want it to go away,” he said. “I want us to play baseball. You ask all of our guys, we want to play baseball, that’s all we want to do. We don’t want to get in fights, it’s not about fighting, it’s not about any of that stuff. It’s about playing the game properly every day with conviction and passion and that’s what we’ve been trying to build here and all of a sudden it’s starting to show up and that’s a good thing. We’re not looking to prolong this; we’re looking to have it go to bed. I am personally, and that’s the message I’m bringing to the team also.”
As for Jonny Gomes, he told reporters this morning he doesn’t think he should be suspended for charging Duncan.
“I think a suspension might be a little hard,” he said. “A fine or something. But you get thrown out of a big league ballgame, you’re definitely going to have to wear something.”
UPDATING, 5 p.m. Joe Girardi told reporters at Legends Field after today’s game that he still hadn’t watched a replay of Duncan’s slide.
“I’ve had quite the busy day,” he said. “And I’m not really sure where to watch it.”
He added, “Shelley told me he was trying to break up the play, he was trying to go after his glove, and I take Shelley for his word. As I said I have not seen a replay.”
One more offering:
“As I said, I don’t like dirty baseball,” said Girardi. “I don’t want to see players get hurt, whether it’s spring training or the season. And I will be mad at one of my players if he intentionally tried to hurt someone. And I would let him know.”