Archer takes offense to Ortiz's bat flip

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- With Christmas carols playing weirdly in the background for what the Tampa Bay Rays called "Christmas in July," leave it to David Ortiz to play bad Santa.

Not only did Ortiz hit a three-run home run off Rays pitcher Chris Archer that accounted for all of the Boston Red Sox's runs in a 3-2 win Sunday afternoon that ended Tampa Bay's nine-game winning streak, he made the Rays cry foul, too.

Archer was offended by Ortiz's exaggerated bat flip and leisurely stroll around the bases, which broke a scoreless tie in the third. He referenced David Price's "he thinks he's bigger than the game" verbal takedown of Ortiz back in May, after the Sox slugger raged at the Rays' ace for drilling him with a first-pitch fastball.

Price had taken aim at Ortiz in apparent retaliation for showing too much admiration for one of the two home runs Ortiz hit off him in Game 2 of the AL Division Series last October. Price had called Ortiz on his cellphone after the game to complain on that occasion, called back the next day -- according to Ortiz -- to apologize, then hit Ortiz with a pitch the first time he faced him in 2014.

"I think it was a perfect example of what Price said," Archer told reporters after Sunday's game. "All of my interactions ... off the field have been good but when it comes to him on the field, I don't know what makes him think that he can showboat the way he does and then nobody retaliate, nobody look at him a funny way or nobody pitch him inside.

"I don't know why he feels like that but obviously he feels the way David [Price] said he does. He feels like he's bigger than the game. He feels like the show is all about him when in reality, if I don't walk Daniel Nava, if I don't give up an infield single to [Dustin] Pedroia, his one home run means nothing.

"I hope he realizes that there's more that goes into it than just him. I don't know. I feel like you can't say that your true character is defined by one action, but multiple actions speak to who you are. That's all I have to say."

Ortiz seemed more bemused than angered by Archer's comments when they were relayed to him in the Sox's clubhouse.

"Whatever, dude. There's always going to be comments out there," Ortiz said. "He's not the right guy to be saying that, I don't think. He's got two days in the league.

"What can I tell you, man? Players these days are too sensitive about things. Just leave it at that. I think he's a good pitcher, I think he has great stuff. He's a guy I think is going to be pretty good, but it takes some time to get to that level."

Archer, 26, is in his third season with the Rays, and obviously doesn't enjoy the same stature in the game as Price does.

Does Ortiz flip his bat? With regularity. Does he take his time circling the bases after a home run? No doubt. There's a website called "Tater Trot Tracker" that has been timing home run trots since the start of the 2010 season. Ortiz was the first big leaguer by the site's calculations to crack the 30-second barrier, had seven of the 10 slowest trots last season, and has six of the slowest 10 trots this season, including the slowest in four years: It took Ortiz 33.9 seconds to circle the bases after a home run down the right-field line in Fenway Park on April 9.

That came not against Rays, but the Texas Rangers. But other than the occasional grumbled aside, no one else has made an issue of it the way the Rays have.

"He played it up pretty good," Rays manager Joe Maddon told reporters afterward. "Again, you'd have to talk to him about that. I've had so much respect for that guy over the years. He's an iconic figure in that city, and I've always thought of him as a very classy person."

Asked if he has lost any respect for Ortiz, Maddon said: "The man has meant so much for the game and also back in his country [Dominican Republic]. Then there's those moments that occur like that. I'm not saying that my respect diminished, it's just something that makes you think a little bit more."

Before the start of the series Friday night, Maddon had acknowledged that he didn't mind having some friction exist between the teams. When it was suggested to him that perhaps, given their place in the game, it might be better for Ortiz and Price to stop lobbing verbal grenades at each other, Maddon said:

"What did Don Drysdale say to the last guy he knocked down on his butt back in 1963? Nothing. He didn't say anything. I think with social media, there's a tendency to want to be politically correct these days. Those kind of thoughts are kind of insinuated, put in play. Play the game. Just play the game."

Ortiz and Price faced each other without incident Friday night, in a game won by the Rays.

Is it a bad thing to have a little bad blood between teams?

"I just yelled at the starting pitcher of the Cardinals a couple days ago," Maddon said. "I think it's good. I think it's good for the game, I think it's good for barroom conversation, it's good to read online. It's good to read in newspapers, I still pick up a newspaper once in a while.

"It's good for all that stuff. It's good. It's only bad when people get hurt, and I don't want anyone to get hurt. But I think if we can create conversation and make it interesting for people to show up, I think it's a good thing."