Lights, camera, basebrawl: 15 characters you’ll see in an MLB brawl
Both benches cleared Wednesday in the Cubs-Marlins game after Junior Lake — based on the reaction of Miami players — spent a moment too long admiring his home run shot. Lake and Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto exchanged words at the plate as the Marlins sought to enforce an oft-violated tenet in the Unwritten Rulebook.
It didn’t help that Lake gestured "shhh" to the Marlins dugout as he rounded third base. The bullpens emptied onto the field, players barked and jostled, but it didn’t blow up into a full-fledged brawl like the kind we saw in April between the Royals and White Sox.
This not exhaustive list doesn’t feature every basebrawl character to ever crash the field and shout, but these are many of the most common and entertaining actors.
1. THE INSTIGATOR
Let’s go back to the Royals, specifically pitcher Yordano Ventura — whose fastball is as hot as his temper is short. Which is to say, very. At only 23 years of age there’s already a growin library of videos in which he’s front and center in a tense exchange, a brawl waiting to happen or a full-fledged melee.
Of course, just as often, a batter or position player will ignite a brouhaha. Here’s Gary Sheffield in action in 2008 when he charged Indians pitcher Francisco Carmona from first base:
And here’s the classic A-Rod-Jason Varitek fight:
2. THE PITCHER WHO DOESN’T WANT TO FIGHT
Watch Rick Porcello back away from Kevin Youkilis in 2009, nearly running away from the charging charging Greek God of Walks before accepting his fate. Incredibly, Porcello, who now plays for Boston, was able to use Youkilis’ own momentum against him in what looks almost like a lateral drop resulting in good position on the ground.
3. THE GUY WHO ESCAPES THE BRAWL BY CRAWLING OUT FROM IN BETWEEN HIS TEAMMATE’S LEGS
4. THE BULLPEN
5. THE GUYS WHO SIMPLY CANNOT LAND A PUNCH
With James Shields and Coco Crisp. Ultimate fighters, or any kind of fighters, they are not.
6. MASTERS OF THE UNWRITTEN RULE BOOK
Through his work enforcing the unwritten rulebook prohibition against admiring a home run blast for an unreasonable length of time, Brian McCann became the preeminent master of the unwritten rulebook. They exchange lots of words and unpleasantries, demand respect, and end up losing some.
7. THE GUY WHO DOESN’T KNOW HOW TO FIGHT AND JUST WRESTLES INSTEAD
Watch out for Kyle Farnsworth.
8. THE COOLER HEADS
9. THE POINT-AND-SHOUT GUYS
10. THE POSTGAME TRASH TALKER
In April 2000, the Tigers and White Sox threw down not once but twice. In total, five batters got hit by pitches and 11 players were ejected. And one player fired a classic shot after the melees. "Bottom line is, we won the game and we killed them," said White Sox pitcher Jim Parque. "I hope they have enough guys so we can beat them again."
11. THE ELDER STATESMAN WHO STILL WANTS TO MIX IT UP
Rest in peace former Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer, whom Pedro Martinez infamously shoved to the ground during a Yankees-Red Sox brawl during the Game 3 of the 2003 ALCS.
12. THE ENCORE PERFORMERS
Sometimes tempers flare, a fight breaks out and then ends, but bad blood festers and later in the game, the players get at each others’ necks again. Take this Dodgers-Diamondbacks game in June 2013 for example. (Let’s play two!)
13. THE GUY WHO DOESN’T MIND BEING THROWN AT BUT RESPECTFULLY REQUESTS THAT IF YOU’RE GOING TO DO SO — TO AIM FOR THE SIDE OF HIS BODY, NOT HIS HEAD
14. THE GUY WHO GETS SNAPPED IN AN UNFORTUNATE PHOTO
15. THE GUY WHO DOESN’T WANT ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT — AT ALL
Keep an eye on the end of the bench.
Remind me to call Jeff Samardzija if I ever have to fight like 15 people pic.twitter.com/9fBwTgGyvx
— Stephen Smith 武雄 (@imStephenSmith) April 24, 2015