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Thursday Jul 27th, 2017  

 Bosox-Rays renew rivalry, Manny in middle of NLCS
posted 8 years ago

Exactly why the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays tangle so much is hard to tell. Blame it on a high-and-tight pitch here, a hard slide there. Whatever, this much is true: The teams playing in the AL championship series sure get into a lot of scraps. 'There's no hatred,' injured Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling insisted Tuesday in an e-mail to The Associated Press. 'It's more a combination of talent/personalities and place than anything, I think. For years Tampa Bay was looked down on and the Sox were one of the powerhouse teams. The start to respectability is as much an attitude as it is talent and a few years ago the Rays, I think, got tired of being pushed around,' he wrote. That's kind of how Sarah Palin sees it, too. 'I know that earlier some of the experts this year were kind of tough on the Rays. I've been there,' the Republican vice presidential candidate said Monday during a speech in Clearwater, Fla. 'But what a difference a season can make, and now the Rays, in the playoffs for the first time ever.' Even before their rise to prominence, the Rays were plenty feisty. They've scuffled with the Red Sox at least a half-dozen times this decade, punctuated by a wild brawl at Fenway Park in June that resulted in eight players getting suspended. 'You know, we've had some good battles with them all year,' Boston pitcher Jon Lester said. Other matchups in the majors get more attention, be it Yankees-Red Sox or Cubs-Cardinals or Dodgers-Giants. But there is no baseball rivalry that's more spirited than Tampa Bay-Boston. Funny, know who was often in the middle _ somehow _ of those slugfests? Manny Ramirez. Yep, the same slugger who's now the main man in the NL championship series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies. Ramirez, manager Joe Torre and the Dodgers open the best-of-seven set Thursday night at Citizens Bank Park. Traded from Boston to Los Angeles on July 31, Ramirez reprised his role as a one-man October wrecking crew in the first-round sweep of the Chicago Cubs. The 2004 World Series MVP went 5-for-10 with two home runs and four walks.

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