WITH GIRARDI AT THE HELM, THIS COULD ESCALATEBy Andrew Marchand
The Joe Girardi view of baseball takes many hours to comprehend. Usually, you have to focus on what he doesn't say to understand what he thinks.
Even in a rare unvarnished moment -- when he admitted, yes, he was annoyed by Big Papi's preening Tuesday night -- he quickly reverted to form and tried to hide his truest feelings.
But here is the thing when it comes to retaliating: This Joe is different than the last Joe in the Bronx.
Joe Girardi believes you can and maybe even should hit a guy properly and professionally when one of yours gets nailed. We saw last month in Baltimore after Chris Dickerson was hit in the head, CC Sabathia nailed Nick Markakis the next day.
After Tuesday's loss to the Red Sox, Girardi's team seemed to be oblivious to Big Papi's antics. Ortiz, with his big personality, will always win a popularity contest against the reserved boss of the Yankees.
But this is still New York-Boston. It is a rivalry that even our buddy Dick Vitale says is on par with Duke-UNC, the most heated in American sports. It has become that way because of its intensity.
With A.J. Burnett on the mound Wednesday, if he gets a chance to nail a Red Sox player, properly and professionally, Girardi will no doubt green light it. From there, we will see where this goes.
Burnett, who likes to think of himself as old-school, might take the manager's cue and bring The Rivalry up a notch in 2011.
NO WAY! YANKS-SOX WAY TOO FRIENDLY THESE DAYSBy Ian Begley
There's no way Big Papi's bat flip incites any retaliatory action by the Yankees. These teams are way too friendly for that.
You could see things escalating if a player more hated by the Bombers -- Jason Varitek comes to mind -- had flipped his bat and pirouetted after a homer.
But not with Big Papi.
As ESPN Boston's Gordon Edes points out, whenever the Yanks and Sox get together, A-Rod & Co. line up to greet Big Papi like he's some sort of baseball dignitary.
Judging by the reaction inside the Yankees' clubhouse after the game, it was clear that Joe Girardi's guys wanted nothing to do with a beanball war.
Both Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada said they "didn't see" Papi's bat flip. Very hard to believe.
Russell Martin was the strongest critic of Papi. But he wasn't very harsh. He simply said he likes it better when Ortiz flips his bat against other teams.
And then there's Girardi, who stated publicly that he "didn't care" for the flip.
About 10 seconds later, Girardi backtracked, saying that he would defend one of his players if they did the same thing.
Does that sound like a manager who wants to start a war? I don't think so.