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Newz Forum: BASEBALL: Benches clear but no punches thrown

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posted on Jun, 9 2004 @ 04:23 PM
CHICAGO (AP) - That harsh feelings between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs didn't go away over the winter. Both benches cleared in the bottom of the fifth inning Wednesday after Cardinals starter Matt Morris sent Derrek Lee sprawling in the dirt with a fastball near his head.

No punches were thrown and no one was ejected, but the game was delayed for about five minutes before umpires restored order.

The Cubs-Cardinals rivalry is always tense, but it was particularly ugly last year. Things came to a head when the Cardinals went to Wrigley Field for a key four-game series the first week of September, and Cubs manager Dusty Baker and Cardinals manager Tony La Russa got into a shouting match during the Sept. 3 game.

Emotions seemed to have cooled in the offseason, and there were no problems in the first two meetings of the year. But tempers flared again Wednesday.

So Taguchi and Jim Edmonds had been sent sprawling on 0-2 pitches earlier in the game. But Lee took offense when Matt Morris vocal in his dislike of the Cubs last year buzzed him with two fastballs. The second rose as it neared Lee, and Lee had to hit the ground to avoid being hit in the head.

Lee pointed at Morris as soon as he got up, and Morris screamed back at him. Plate umpire Ed Rapuano pulled Lee back as the Cubs and Cardinals slowly started coming out of their dugouts. But someone said something to Lee and he started back toward the mound. Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina restrained him, and the umpires got between the teams.

Words were exchanged for several minutes before both teams wandered back to their dugouts. Morris had another exchange with one of the Cubs coaches, but he stayed on the mound and walked Lee when play resumed.

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