BOSTON — The only surprising part of Thursday’s fallout from the Yankees-Red Sox brawl a night earlier was Phil Nevin’s logic, or lack thereof.
The Yankees’ third base coach was ejected Wednesday, and was barking at the Sox after the dust settled in the seventh inning. From the first-base dugout, Sox manager Alex Cora gestured to Nevin to turn back around, to take a walk.
On Thursday, Nevin called Cora “unprofessional.” Was Cora supposed to just stand there, unmoved, as Nevin spouted off?
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“After the whole thing, he was screaming at our dugout, I don’t know if he was screaming specifically at me,” Cora said Thursday. “And I took exception. I don’t want to say I overreacted, but, that’s not me. I think for 10 games, or whatever I’ve managed, you guys see me very calm over there. But there is a chain of command, and if we’re going to be letting everybody [scream] in situations like that, well, it wasn’t a good situation in the beginning, and it can be worse.
“I don’t manage their team. I manage my team. I don’t want any of my coaches screaming at Aaron Boone or any of their players, and I took exception. I made a signal, I know everybody saw it. Out of character for me, but I still didn’t like the fact that he was pointing at me and screaming.”
Cora’s a manager, Nevin’s merely a coach. The former will be held to a higher standard. But both have a responsibility to professionalism. Cora acknowledged he could have handled the moment better. But standing there and telling someone who’s barking at you to turn back around doesn’t seem ridiculous, given the moment.
Aaron Boone, the Yankees manager, has a pre-existing relationship with Cora. Boone didn’t exactly throw his weight behind Nevin.
“You know what, I don't really have anything to say about it,” Boone said Thursday. “It's yesterday, I don't want to rehash it, I'll talk about the play, I'll give you my opinion on the Austin play, but that's for him to answer. We're moving on.”
Asked if he saw what Cora did as unprofessional, Boone said he did not “necessarily see it that way from Phil's standpoint.”
Per retrosheet.org, Nevin was ejected 12 times in his playing career. Among the listed reasons from various incidents: threw bat, threw glove and hat, touched umpire and threw equipment. The only listed ejection for Cora’s major league career came while he was a bench coach last year in Houston.
Nevin responded on Thursday to Cora's chain-of-command line.
"I saw something directed at me when I was going back to third,” he said, via MLB.com's Bryan Hoch. “But if you want to talk about chain of command and then tell somebody to get back into their box, everybody saw that, that’s pretty unprofessional."
The bottom line? There's only one third-base coach who has good reason to complain about professionalism: the one who got clocked in the head during the brawl, the Red Sox' Carlos Febles.