Friday, June 6, 2008


After seeing last nights events in the Red Sox game, I thought we should pay tribute to some of the most memorable freeze-frames in baseball fighting lore. This is to accomplish two things:

1. Prove that baseball players don't know how to fight.
2. Take part in a little schadenfreude. Nothing wrong with that, right?

I will be assigning points for various categories. I will most likely make them up as I go along. The fight with the most points wins.

Let's get to the list:

Honorable Mention: Some fight involving the Red Sox and Orioles.

Cause: I have no idea, since I can't find any other references to this obscure picture.

Points: 50
+50 points for the old guy doing the choke hold on the guy grabbing the catcher's suspenders.

Commentary: I don't know what started this brawl, or how it ended, but the Mr. Choke-Hold-Old-Guy better watch himself, lest he end up like Don Zimmer (see below).

7. A-Rod v. Jason Varitek, 2004

Cause: Bronson Arroyo plunked A-Rod, Varitek got in the middle.

Points: 75
+50 to Varitek for trying to beat up A-Rod.
+50 to A-Rod for trying to beat up Varitek.
-25 Points to Varitek for jush smooshing A-Rods face instead of actually punching him.

Commentary: Varitek: "I told him, in choice words, to get to first base." How diplomatic of you, Jason.

6. Clemens v. Piazza's Broken Bat, 2000

Cause: Piazza broke his bat.

Points: 100
+100 to Piazza for breaking his bat in Roger's general direction.
+50 to Clemens for roid-rage overreacting
-50 to Clemens for throwing the bat at Piazza from the set position instead of the wind-up.

Commentary: Instead of misdirecting his anger, Clemens should have snapped the broken bat barrel over his knee a-la Carlos Zambrano. 'Roids make you do some crazy stuff.

5. Coco Crsip v. James Shields, yesterday

Cause: Shields plunked Coco in the leg.

Points: 120
+100 points to Shields for the wicked looking haymaker.
-80 points for missing.
+50 points to Coco for the Matrix-esque footwork.
+50 points to Coco for having a breakfast cereal named after him.

Commentary: If they continue whiffing on punches like those, the Rays will always be just a second place team.

4. Derek Lee v. Chris Young, 2007

Cause: Young threw at Lee's head. Boo.

Points: 160
+150 points to Lee for picking a fight with the only guy in MLB taller than himself.
+100 points to Young for the huge right hook.
-80 points for missing.
-10 points to Lee for scrunching up his face. He looks like Varitek just smooshed him with his glove.

Commentary: Shame on Chris Young for throwing at Lee's head. But had he not, we would never have this awesome picture. Karma: Young taking a liner to the nose from Pujols last month?

3. Barrett v. Pierzynski, 2006

Cause: After a hard slide into home, Pierzynski emphatically slapped the plate.

Points: 180
+50 points to the photographer for capturing this awesome moment.
+150 points to Barrett and Pierzynski for fighting with each other. Both deserve an ass-whoopin'.
-10 points for the mooky look on AJ's face.
-10 points to Sweet Lou Piniella for not being involved.

Commentary: Let's hope the Cubs make the postseason so we can all witness fights like this (and No. 4) on national television.

2. Pedro Martinez v. Don Zimmer, 2003

Cause: Roger Clemens threw at Manny Ramirez which cleared the benches.

Points: 200
+100 points to Pedro for taking out a seventy-year-old man.
+50 points to Zim for good form on the face-plant.
+50 points to both for fighting in the postseason.

Commentary: Where does Zimmer get off picking a fight with someone 1/3 his age? The whole fracas sent him to the hospital. Wonder if the thinks it was worth it.

1. Nolan Ryan v. Robin Ventura, 1993

Cause: Ryan plunked Ventura with a 93MPH fastball.

Points: 275
+200 points to Ryan for the headlock.
+50 points to Ventura for picking a fight with Nolan Ryan.
-25 points for losing.
+50 points to Ryan for being able to sign these pictures for the rest of his life.

Commentary: Don't mess with Texas.

I guess after looking over the list, there are a few baseball players who can fight, but most just throw punches and look foolish. Of all the great baseball fights out there those are only the ones that come to mind right now. Add your favorite if you feel like it. Just don't mess with Texas.


Anonymous said...

I can give you the info on that first photo between the Red Sox and Orioles -

July 2002 - the catcher is Jason Varitek.

There is also another good photo here of Varitek and Roberto Alomar from 2000.

Captain Awesome said...

I'm a fan of the occasional baseball fights...but wouldn't they be more interesting if the umps let the pitcher and batter go at it (NHL style)? I think that would make the fights a lot more meaningful. Actually, they should allow this type of fighting. They could keep track of the winners and losers of interleague fights and the league with the most fight wins at the end of the season gets home field advantage in the World Series. Eat it, Selig!

Johnny-2-Turds said...

Now that's what I'm talkin' about! Every team could have an enforcer, and you put him in late or as a pinch runner at third to railroad the catcher.

Also, what if Robin Ventura had screamed "I'm a hemophiliac!" and when Nolan Ryan let him go, Ventura would have kicked him in the back. That would have been awesome.