Certainly, their nerves were frayed and emotions close to the surface after some of the most difficult days of their lives. But the Angels said that had nothing to do with their rushing onto the field twice in the first inning of a tense 5-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Sunday afternoon at Angel Stadium.
"No, I swear to you I will not use that," said Angels center fielder Torii Hunter - one of four Angels ejected in the first inning. "Yeah, we had an emotional week. But whatever happened right there, that was blatant.
"Don't use that (the death of Nick Adenhart earlier this week), man. I don't know if everybody had eyes on us because they think we're emotionally unstable right now or what. But what happened there was blatant."
What happened was a 94 mph fastball from Josh Beckett thrown "this close" to Bobby Abreu's head (he held his hand just inches from his face when asked) after Abreu had called - and been granted - a timeout during his first-inning at-bat.
"It's been an emotional week for everybody," said Angels reliever Justin Speier, who was ejected also. "But the fact of the matter is, this situation would have played out the way it played out without Nick's death. What he (Beckett) did was totally uncalled for. ... It was total disrespect for us and for the game."
But the Angels took exception to more than just the fastball that set things off - like the fact that they had four ejections (Hunter, Speier, Manager Mike Scioscia and hitting coach Mickey Hatcher) while the Red Sox had none.
"We had an issue with that too," Scioscia said. "We definitely got the short end of that, too."
The incident started with Chone Figgins on second base, one out in the first inning and a 1-and-2 count on Abreu. As Beckett was about to deliver the pitch, Abreu called timeout and backed away from the plate.
Beckett went through with his delivery, buzzing the pitch past Abreu and to the backstop.
"I've never hit anybody in the head and it's not really on my list of (stuff) to accomplish," Beckett said. "But people can think what they want to think. I know Bobby Abreu. He knows I'm not trying to hit him in the head."
Speier was having none of it.
"He can say whatever he wants to say," Speier said. "But the fact is (Red Sox catcher Jason) Varitek was set up low and away and he threw it at Bobby's head."
Abreu tried to give Beckett the benefit of the doubt after the game, saying, "I don't know if he heard (the timeout) or not." But he gestured toward Beckett after the pitch and was quickly grabbed from behind by Varitek as both benches and bullpens emptied.
"It doesn't look good that way," Abreu said. "I had stepped away. If I'm not paying attention, that could have hit me in the head. That's why I was a little upset."
Hatcher, Hunter and Speier, in particular, seemed to be set off - first by Beckett who came down off the mound and said something to Scioscia - then later by crew chief Joe West.
"That was as flagrant as anything I've seen in this game," Scioscia said of Beckett's delivery.
West, umpiring at second base, said a warning was issued even though he and plate ump Paul Schrieber did not feel Beckett had been trying to hit Abreu.
"Did he throw it up and in? Yeah. Do we believe he threw it at Abreu? No," West said.
"Would we have warned him had both benches not emptied? Probably not, but because both benches emptied, we did issue a warning."
Order was eventually restored - though Speier did not realize until the next inning that he had been ejected and Scioscia wasn't ejected until between innings by umpire Ed Rapuano. West explained the one-sided nature of the ejections as due to the fact "the Angels were the aggressors."
Less disturbing for the Angels was the actual baseball played. After starter Dustin Moseley gave up back-to-back home runs to Kevin Youkilis and J.D. Drew in the top of the second, the Angels put together a three-run rally in the third against Beckett - Abreu's two-run single giving the Angels the lead.
They added single runs in the fifth and eighth (on Vladimir Guerrero's first home run of the season) but had to white-knuckle it home with another shaky performance by the bullpen.