Charles Krauthammer: Revenge, American-style (sometimes served with a David Price fastball)
Accordingly, when Boston slugger David Ortiz came to bat against Tampa Bay's David Price at the end of May - for the first time this season - Price fired the very first pitch, a 94 mile-an-hour fastball, square into Ortiz's back.
Everyone knew this was no accident.
On Oct. 5, 2013, Ortiz had hit two home runs off Price. Unusual, but not unknown. Except that after swatting the second, Ortiz stood at home plate seeming to admire his handiwork, watching the ball's majestic arc into the far right field stands - and only then began his slow, very slow, trot around the bases.
But yelling does not quite soothe the savage breast. So, through the fall and long winter, through spring training and one-third of the new season, Price nursed the hurt.
Except that the other guy had no pistol.
Which made for complications: further payback (Tampa Bay star Evan Longoria received a close retaliatory shave and two other players were hit before the game was done); major mayhem in the form of the always pleasing, faintly ridiculous, invariably harmless bench-clearing brawl; and all-around general ill feelings.
Price feigned innocence. As did his Yoda-like manager, Joe Maddon, who dryly observed that a slugger like Ortiz simply has to be pitched inside, then added with a twinkle, "Of course, that was a little bit too far inside."
What is so delightful about this classic act of revenge is both the length of the fuse - eight months! - and the swiftness of the execution: one pitch, one plunk, one message delivered.
No arbitration, no mediation. "Direct action," as the left might put it.
There, the fuse is deliciously long - the 14 years our betrayed hero suffers and broods on an island prison before escaping - and the execution is spectacularly elaborate: the decade developing a new identity with which to entrap his betrayers and bring each to a tortured demise.
But the amorous Quebecois are the exception. More common are the savage retributive habits of the more tribal elements of the human family.
We did give the world Tonya Harding and the Godfather's horse's head in the bed, but the best we can do outside sport and fiction is "Remember the Alamo." Wonderful sentiment, but with Mexico now a best buddy, hardly a battle cry.
So mark your calendar. Next Sox-Rays encounter: July 25. Here's hoping Price is pitching.
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