Base-Brawl

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hide captionDoug Glanville playing in the Phillies-Braves series that ended in two brawls...

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It's almost a baseball cliche — a crack, a whiz, a thud, and suddenly, a rush and a hail of uniformed bodies. It's a bench-clearing brawl — and there are moments in a game that practically guarantee them. Truth is, if you're a mere spectator, watching them is kinda boring — I remember in high school baseball games, those moments were like a summer storm — brief, adrenaline fueled, and only noticeable if you're caught in it. But I do always wonder what it's like on the bottom of the pile — especially if you just ran out in solidarity. No worries — we've got Doug Glanville on for a tour of the base-brawl. His guest op-ed in the New York Times is some of the best (and funniest) sportswriting I've ever read. Glanville goes ahead and makes several unwritten brawling rules explicit, while describing memorable bench-clearers in which he's found himself.

These rules, and others (they are too numerous to list), when broken, eventually result in a brawl. It may not happen that same day, because the grudge-holding nature of the game has no statute of limitations. According to my unfinished business archive, I still owe Hideki Irabu for hitting me in the back with the first pitch of the game in Yankee Stadium nine years ago. Since we are both retired I may have to exact revenge in some Best Buy parking lot.

Mr. Irabu's lucky — Doug Glanville is clearly a lover, not a fighter. Tell us the memorable moments when you crossed that line — what baseball fight do you remember, which do you regret?

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This is somewhat different. My son used to play semi-pro football in Indiana. One game there was a real bad brawl.......being a mom, I searched the field for my 22 year old son; then, I heard a person in the crowd say "look at that guy on the bench". Sure enough, it was my son, sitting with his helmet on his knee, shaking his head. I was so proud of him!

Sent by Deborah Yoder | 2:52 PM | 6-3-2008

Cal/Stanford. Juxtapose those words and you can almost see a brawl break out. I was a pitcher for Cal involved in all-out brawls two consecutive years with the Cardinal. We have video of the brawl. Jack McDowell, Ed Sprague, and Jeff Kent--all of whom made the big leagues were involved in starting it. Little ole me got right in the thick of it--good training for my career as an orthopedic surgeon! Go Bears!!

Sent by Will Workman | 2:52 PM | 6-3-2008

I've only been in one fight in my athletic career and it was with a player on my own team. I was making my second start of the season and while warming up with our starting catcher, and the fans and other team all saw it. The starting catcher for that game was a real jerk and was not being exactly supportive while I was warming up since I was rather sloppy with my curveball. I eventually got so frustrated with warm-up pitches and his mouth that when he threw the ball back to me I basically charged down off the mound and threw the ball as hard as I could at him on the way towards him. We got locked up and shoved and tried throw a few punches, but the coaches broke the fight up pretty fast, plus the catcher left all his gear on, so I'm sure the fight was pretty wimpy looking, but it still had to be a shock to the other team and the fans. It turned out I got my adrenaline running high enough that I threw a 3 hitter over the 7 inning game and we won, so it turned out ok, but needless to say the catcher and I had quite a bit of running to do the next day at practice.

Sent by Keith | 2:58 PM | 6-3-2008

I'm enjoying the Base Brawl discussion. Would just like to add that there is nothing new indeed in this on-field activity. One of our Society members is compiling a list of brawls that is now over three-thousand incidents long.
Chairman,
Nineteenth Century Committee
Society for American Baseball Research

Sent by Peter Mancuso | 3:08 PM | 6-3-2008

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