There will never be a very good or rational explanation for Daniel Cabrera's behavior tonight. Nor, I think, will there ever be a more impassioned tirade from Jerry Remy than the one he went on throughout the umpires' meetings of the fourth inning.
"Is it Coco Crisp's fault that you were foolish enough to fall for that fake? No! It's your fault, Cabrera!" he cried as a replay was shown of an umpire ripping Cabrera's jersey open in his struggle to prevent Cabrera and some member of the Red Sox from meeting to exchange pleasantries.
For some completely unfathomable reason, Cabrera had taken exception to Coco Crisp attempting a bunt on him earlier in the inning. Then, once Coco had reached third base, he took a running lead at third, distracting Cabrera to the point where he stopped dead in the middle of his windup, turning to brandish the ball at Coco. The home plate umpire correctly issued a balk, and Coco scored the third Red Sox run of the game.
It had already been an embarrassing display from Cabrera, but he took it to another level with what he did next, which was uncork a pitch directly behind the head of Dustin Pedroia, the next batter up. Pedroia, normally someone who gnaws on kneecaps with small person anger (tm Kristen), just looked dumbfounded. In the Sox dugout everyone looked similarly taken aback. Coco Crisp, his Afro mashed flat by his batting helmet, sat on the top dugout step shaking his head. Jonathan Papelbon glared from the bench. Kevin Youkilis muttered something to himself.
Then all of a sudden someone said something to the catcher, Ramon Hernandez, who responded with a hearty f-bomb in that person's general direction. That's when the benches and bullpens emptied. Cabrera's jersey-ripping encounter with the umpire occured In the ensuing fracas. Someone on the Red Sox team was talking some serious smack, apparently, but I haven't been able to determine who it was (I have my guesses, however.). Julian Tavarez did walk right up to Cabrera and start lecturing him while Trembley was arguing Cabrera's ejection with the home plate umpire, but no fisticuffs were exchanged. (Cabrera may have been crazy tonight, but he's not crazy enough to fuck with Julian Tavarez. He seemed to just wait until Tavarez was led away by an ump.)
Finally, to Remy and Orsillo's great relief, Cabrera was ejected. Remy must have used the word "immature" 23 times. He repeated his rant about it not being Coco's problem that Cabrera sucked at least twice. He was, as my father put it, indignant. Not that you can blame him. It was ridiculous.
In other news, I have to believe that at this point, none of Kevin Millar's teammates talk to him during Red Sox series. As some astute readers pointed out in the comments on my last post, Millar thought nothing of including himself in the huddle around an injured Doug Mirabelli last night. And tonight he and Mirabelli were gesturing jokingly at one another after Millar very nearly lost a footrace to the first base bag with Jacoby Ellsbury, despite the fact that Ellsbury had about ten times the distance to run as Millar. I love Millar and hope he returns to the Red Sox organization when he's done striking out in key situations for the Orioles, but if I were a teammate or a Baltimore fan I think I'd be a little tired of the Sox love from him by now.
Speaking of Ellsbury. Tonight he stole second, scored on a single from Youkilis, and made a spectacular face-smashing catch at the wall in left field. And there was a Red Sox fan right there, leaning over the wall to shout encouragement.
Also notable: Tina Cervasio enlightened us tonight as to the man-love between Mike Lowell and Dustin Pedroia. According to Tina, Lowell is always talking about Pedroia after games, and has the following nicknames for him: Petey, Pedro, Dusty, and PeeWee. I approve of the love, but reiterate my objection to the whole "Petey" thing.
Finally, while nothing in comparison to Cabrera's meltdown, Jason Varitek and Mike Lowell had fits of their own tonight. A fit from Jason Varitek is exceedingly rare--usually his emotional spectrum runs from pleasantly surprised to gloweringly stern. But after he struck out with the bases loaded in the seventh, he was chirping all the way back to the dugout, throwing up his arms in disgust. I don't think I've seen him that animated since the Summer of Glove. For his part, Lowell had quite a bit to say to the home plate umpire when he called him out looking in the top of the ninth.
Oh, and Jon Lester worked his way ever higher in my Binky pecking order with 7 strong innings, striking out 4 and giving up no runs.
All of the above, however, pale in comparison to what was by far the most memorable moment of a very eventful game: the bullpen water-bottle Samba band that played a little ditty for the NESN cameras. Jonathan Papelbon started things off with a Lars Ulrich-esque solo, biting his lip and really digging in, before giving way to the backup band of Lopez, Timlin and Delcarmen, who locked together in smooth, multi-part rhythm, and all of them maintained totally deadpan stares at the field the whole time.
Long live the Black Pearl.
P.S. Speaking of tirades, Dave McCarty gave Cabrera a heaping ration of chastisement on the postgame show, in a monologue which included the phrases "mental midget," "you're a fool out there," and "million-dollar arm, 5-cent head." However, I will always regret that Dennis Eckersley was not the guest host on the postgame tonight. It would've been an instant classic.