Tempers, Brawls Flare In Sports World

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In a single week, there have been two remarkable brawls in the sports world. First came a bench-clearing altercation in a WNBA game — the most notable brawl in the 12-year history of the women's professional basketball league. Then a minor-league baseball skirmish ended with the arrest of a pitcher on a felony assault charge.


Well, it wasn't such a great week for the athletes of the present. Two different brawls broke out in two different sports, call them a basebrawl and a basketbrawl. Missed them? No worries, they're all over YouTube.

(Soundbite of video)

Mr. NEIL EVERETT (Sportscaster, "SportsCenter"): The video you'll be talking about at the water cooler tomorrow, but there's nothing cool about what happened in this minor-league game.

SEABROOK: Neil Everett of ESPN's "SportsCenter." The Dayton Dragons versus the Peoria Chiefs, a minor-league baseball game. It started when a pitcher hit two different batters, causing both coaches to charge onto the field, followed by most of the players. A knock-down, drag-out melee, and then.

Mr. EVERETT: And that kid right there, Juan Castillo, the pitcher for Peoria, he threw the ball, tried to throw it into the dugout. It went high, hit a fan. A fan was taken to the hospital.

SEABROOK: The fan was released that night, but Castillo wasn't. He spent two nights in jail for beaning the fan in the forehead - ouch. In the end, 15 players and both coaches were ejected from the game.

Earlier in the week, it was a women's basketball game that resulted in a rumble.

Ms. DORIS BURKE (Sportscaster, ESPN): Well, this was a simple rebound off a missed free-throw by Cheryl Ford(ph). Ford and Candace Parker(ph). It tied up. Some emotion, it was running high all night as it always does between these two franchises.

SEABROOK: Sportscaster Doris Burke on ESPN. This WNBA game was between the Los Angeles Sparks the Detroit Shock. The free-throw turned into a free-for-all when both teams' benches cleared. Players bounded onto the court to backup rivals Ford and Parker. It was impossible to tell what had actually happened until the commotion died down.

In a feat of metaphysics, ESPN showed a live picture of game officials watching the brawl on ESPN. Five players from each team were suspended, plus one assistant coach, a man, former NBA player Rick Mahorn.

So one week, two brawls. Maybe it's the summer heat?

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