David Ortiz: “Playing here used to be fun … it’s starting to become the s***hole it used to be”

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There hasn’t been any huge drama in Red Sox land in, like, hours, so David Ortiz went off on a big anti-media rant in the clubhouse before today’s game.

CSNNE.com has the details (and video), starting with Ortiz being asked if he was having fun this season:

Not really. Too much s***, man. People need to leave us alone and let us play baseball. It’s starting to become the s***hole it used to be. Playing here used to be so much fun. Now, every day is something new, not related to baseball. People need to leave us alone. Every day is something new, some drama, some more s***. I’m tired of that, man. I’m here to play baseball, man.

Well then.

For much of this week multiple Red Sox players, including Ortiz, have denied various reports that the clubhouse environment has turned toxic.

His comments aren’t likely to go over well with fans or the media, but it’s easy to see why Ortiz is frustrated. Not only are the Red Sox above .500 despite an ugly 4-10 start, going 31-23 since then, but he’s hitting .313 with 18 homers and a 1.012 OPS in 68 games for his best production since 2007. He’s playing amazingly well, the team is on a 93-win pace since a terrible first two weeks despite an incredible number of key injuries, and all anyone wants to talk about are off-field issues, real or imagined.

(For a lot more on the entire situation, read Sean McAdam’s full write-up here.)

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

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When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.

Manny Machado teaches us to never give up

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The Rays beat the Orioles last night, but the play of the game belonged to an Oriole defender.

Evan Longoria was batting and he chopped a ball foul down the third base line. At least it started out foul. As we all know, however, it doesn’t matter where the ball starts, it matters where it is when it crosses the bag.

Manny Machado knows this and didn’t give up on the ball despite it starting several feet in foul territory. He watched it come back, stayed with it and threw out Longoria who, unlike Machado, did give up on it, assuming he’d merely get a strike and another hack. Watch:

Longoria would get Machado back, however, fielding a ball Machado smoked to third base in the ninth inning, recording the second to last out of the game.