The sweet smell of freshly cut grass. Literal ball park hot dogs. The crack of the bat in pre-game warmups. The sheer size of any baseball field/stadium. The fact that baseball is the national past time. These are all great reasons to fall in love with a game that dates back to 1842, but one that always gets my attention is simple: the bench-clearing brawls.
First, there has to be an incident to set it off (one key moment, or a collection of tense moments that add up until tempers flare eventually). Then once it all boils over, they always pan out to a camera angle that shows the full view of the field, with benches and bullpens clearing. It’s a spectacle that never ceases to amaze, and the best pull-apart brawls are similar to those in wrestling, as they are a common staple to help build feuds.
Last night, baseball fans were treated to quite an entertaining match-up between the Diamondbacks and Dodgers in Los Angeles in more ways than one. The Dodgers’ rookie phenom Yasiel Puig was hit in the nose (not directly) and was administered a concussion test on the field. Everyone (especially the Diamondbacks) was well aware that retaliation was coming. This is known as one of the sport’s biggest unwritten rules. That was not the issue.
The problem was that it took Zach Greinke four tries to nail catcher Miguel Montero with a 91 mile per hour fastball.
"You get one shot," Arizona reliever Brad Ziegler told ESPN.com. "He took four shots. He kept going after him until he hit him. If he takes one shot and hits him, it's over. But you can't just keep throwing at him. I've heard that since high school.”
The action picks up in the bottom of the seventh when Greinke is at bat and is drilled on the left shoulder by Ian Kennedy.
Words might not be able to do this brawl justice- but I’ll try.
Tonight's 7th inning is brought to you by the letters "F" and "U":
:04- Well that looked painful. Greinke is ok, but stunned somewhat.
:05- Crowd: “OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH no he di’int.”
:10- Kennedy is ejected as everyone (including himself) expected. He walks off without a remote struggle.
:15- Here is the panoramic view of the field with benches clearing. This could be fun. ::Grabs popcorn::
:19- Greinke is all “Ok guys, I need to get to first. I was hit.” Every other player on both teams blocks his path to first, forming a gigantic mass of collective humanity along the first baseline.
:28- The action really picks up and the crowd is feeling it. Reminds me of the Attitude Era in WWE with Austin/McMahon.
:38- The contrast of blue and red reminds me of Halo Wars.
:45- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly is fully involved in the brawl. I would call him a “player’s manager” in the most accurate of senses.
:54- All I can think as I see the gloves and hats strewn about on the field is how I would make the WORST baseball player during a brawl, wandering by myself away from the crowd
“Guys, you do that fighting thing- but I need to find my hat. Where is my hat?”
1:02- “No sense calling names- they’re all there.”- announcer. About as well put as can be.
This seems like a good moment to mention how fitting it would be if Diamondback players were on the attack with strikes while Los Angeles players moved out of the way every time.
1:34- Mark McGwire mad. Mark McGwire SMASH.
2:17- Guys, the crowd is in a lull. Lets’s keep fighting! We have a pay per view to sell this Sunday! O wait, no we don’t.
2:40- Go home, Puig- you’re angry.
2:45- Mark, you’re 15 minutes were up years ago. Don’t try and make this your 16th minute.
3:03- The umpires are handling this a hell of a lot better than the producers of Real World: Portland.
The events that led to this helped build the proper amount of tension, and the anticipation was at its absolute climax leading up to Greinke getting plunked in the bottom of the seventh. THAT is how you build up to a match up.
Maybe Vince McMahon and the WWE could learn a thing or two from these two teams in how to properly build up a match-up between two heavyweights. It would certainly beat Monday night’s lifeless and anti-climactic “pull-apart” brawl between Ryback, Cena and thirty wrestlers.
And from the looks of it, the score is not settled.
Always leave them wanting more, Vince- not less.