Last night Dodger’s rookie, and HR blaster as of late Yasiel Puig was hit by a pitch to the face by Diamondback ace Ian Kennedy. He stayed in the game. In retalliation, Zack Greinke, who just last month recovered from the DL after a fight with Pads’ Carlos Quentin that left him with a fractured collarbone, struck the DBacks’ Montero with a pitch. Both teams cleared the benches, no punches were thrown. Later that inning however, Ian Kennedy hit Greinke with a pitch… ensuing in a full out brawl between the teams.
And it was amazing.
I live for these moments in baseball, when the players, who don’t have the ruggedness of NHL players, nor the burly-ness of NFL players, resort to getting down and dirty – throwing punches, holding each other back, getting all up in each others’ grills. Quite frankly, it turns me on.
My first live bench clearing brawl was probably YEARS ago, when the SF Giants were still in the Bonds and JT Snow era. It was a Dodgers and Giants Friday night game, and Jeff Weaver hit one of the Giants’ players intentionally. Leading to a bench clearing brawl. Despite the fact that fights between SF Giants fans and LA Dodgers fans broke out in multiple places in the stands, bleachers, promenade, etc, I was absolutely enthralled in what I was seeing. (Keep in mind this was pre- Brian Stowe incident, thus fights between SFGiants fans and LADodgers fans occurred frequently – sadly) MY men, fighting for each other. I was oogling. But why?
- Players are out of their element. Fights don’t happen often in baseball games. NHL, NFL, and NBA even, fights are more frequent. To see baseball players actively throwing punches, or restraining each other, is exciting. Because you don’t typically see them do anything besides run, hit, and catch, for the most part.
- The old guys want to have a dog in the fight too. The coaches love getting into it too. I don’t know if they are more invested because it’s been such a long time since they’ve thrown down, or because they truly feel their team has been disrespected… Either way, to see giant dudes like (current hitting coach for the Dodgers) Mark McGwire put his hands on Arizona manager Kirk Gibson and scream various expletives at him has some sort of shock value that I find nothing short of exciting.
- The general, alpha male competition. Everyone is trying to prove how alpha male and how manly they can be… and we, as spectators, get to watch. In the locker rooms, they probably size each other up, no doubt, but without pulling out their d***s, we actually get to see the competition get fierce and physical.
- Boys are separated from the men. This is my FAVORITE part of team brawls. Some guys just want to fight. Some guys just want to talk it out. Last night, Juan Uribe (who I am not fond of at all, despite his performance with the 2010 Giants), was that guy, being angry at no one in particular, just looking for trouble. Andre Ethier, on the other hand, idly hung out on the outskirts of the entanglement, probably weighing out that his delicate baby face was too pretty to get ruined in a fight. Fair enough. It’s not like Uribe has anything to lose looks-wise.
- Likewise, I often think about what players would have the fight or flight response. Sometimes during these brawls I get proven right, sometimes I get proven wrong. It’s most exciting when my predictions turn out wrong…
Eli Whiteside was one dude who I’d pinned as a flight response – yet his Southern drawl and upbringing clearly fooled me, as he was the first to fight in one of my favorite SF Giants bench clearing fight. The Phillies / Giants series in 2011 were intense. For you band wagoners who just hopped on during the 2010 NLCS, you probably remember how much Jonathan Sanchez hated Chase Utley (I’m not sure why, because Utley’s an attractive, probably nice dude), especially during Game 6 of the NLCS. Regardless, 2011 meetings of the team were clearly on edge. I remember being at the game, with my dumbass Philly phanatic phan, who as we left the game, wore his Roy Holladay jersey in shame and asked me to hold his Phillies hat in my purse (fearing his safety, I did. Sorry to call you out, bud). Anyways, the sight when Ramierez pitched Victorino a little too far in, was in every way, everything I had imagined. The Flying Hawaiian had at it, and the players came out to protect their own… even Fat Panda contributed a restrained punch or two.
It was so dreamy.