One of the many interesting sidebars to this afternoon's Red Sox home opener at Fenway Park was the renewing of a two-year old feud between Seattle's Jose Guillen and Boston's Brendan Donnelly.
The two were teammates on the Angels before Guillen was traded to the Washington Nationals. And it just so happened that during a 2005 interleague game that pitted the Angels against the Nationals, Donnelly was busted for pine-tar on his glove, leading to a bench-clearing fracas in which Guillen had to be restrained and geezers Mike Scioscia and Frank Robinson went for each other's throats.
Donnelly accused Guillen, who wasn't happy about being traded from Anaheim to Washington, of tipping off the Nats. The day after the brawl, Guillen told the AP:
"I'm so happy that I wasn't the first one to be in the middle because I don't know what would have happened there. I am so happy that my teammates grabbed me and dragged me back to the dugout because if I was right in the middle, the story was going to be different."
He also had some choice words for Scioscia:
"I don't care really much about Mike Scioscia. I have no respect for him any more, because I'm still hurt from what happened last year. Mike Scioscia to me is like a piece of garbage. I don't care if I get in trouble. He can go to hell."
Cognizant of the bad blood, Major League Baseball warned both teams prior to today's Sox-Mariners game. Regardless, after Donnelly struck out Guillen on three pitches in the eighth, the two started barking at each other as benches cleared. Guillen was ejected; Donnelly joined him one batter later when he plunked Seattle catcher Kenji Johjima.
After the game, the barbs kept a-flyin':
"This goes way back since I was with the Angels," said Guillen. "(I) caught him cheating once and, unfortunately, he keeps running his mouth like he's going to hit me. You've got to be man enough to hit me and not hit a catcher."
"It wasn't a planned thing," Donnelly said of the confrontation. "Our issues are well documented."
With two more games to go in this series, we may well get the first brawl of the 2007 season by week's end. Stay tuned.