Five players were ejected and suspensions loom after players and coaches from the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks brawled on Tuesday night as bad blood simmered between the two National League West rivals.
The Dodgers won the game 5-3, but that was an afterthought to the night’s main events.
Arizona pitcher Ian Kennedy hit Dodgers phenom Yasiel Puig in the nose in the bottom of the 6th inning. Puig ultimately stayed in the game, which prompted fans to call him superhuman. That prompted Dodger pitcher Zack Greinke, who will not be mistaken for Chad Billingsley, to drill Arizona catcher Miguel Montero in the top half of the seventh inning. It should be noted Greinke protected his teammate even though he had previously broken his collarbone when San Diego’s Carlos Quentin, proving not everyone who attended Stanford is smart, foolishly charged the mound earlier in the season thinking he was hit on purpose when Greinke unintentionally hit him with a pitch. After Greinke drilled Montero (properly, it should be noted, in the back and not near the head), the benches briefly cleared, but nothing much happened.
In the bottom half of the seventh inning, Kennedy threw the ball at Greinke’s head and appeared to him near the neck/shoulder area.
Then all hell broke loose as some of baseball’s icons from the 1980s engaged in what could have easily been mistaken as the Monday night wrestling wars of the 1990s.
Dodgers skipper Don Mattingly had to be pulled off of Arizona coach Alan Trammell. Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire (former A’s player) grabbed a hold of Arizona coach Matt Williams (a former Giant) and jawed with Diamondbacks skipper Kirk Gibson (former Dodger). McGwire at times seem possessed because he was so outraged Kennedy would throw at Greinke’s head. Even Arizona’s Don Baylor, who is normally placid, got involved in the fray. Puig got ejected for being in the middle of the fight, and Dodger reliever Ronald Belisario also was right in the middle of the scuffle protecting his teammates. There were story lines galore, with Mattingly facing off against his American League nemesis Trammell. Gibson faced off against McGwire in a rematch of the 1988 World Series that immortalized Gibson–except McGwire had on the Dodger blue this time around. Kennedy, Gibson, McGwire, Puig, and Arizona coach Turner Ward were ultimately ejected.
After Arizona took a 3-2 lead in the top of the 8th, the Dodgers rallied in the bottom half of the frame on a bases-clearing double by Los Angeles’s Tim Federowicz, who called the win “perfect.”
Puig injected life into the moribund Dodgers last week, and the team’s ultimate defense of him and the scuffling by the team’s coaches may bond the team. Greinke, who risked his body to defend his teammate after already having suffered a broken collarbone, will gain much respect–spoken and unsaid–in the locker room. So will Mattingly, McGwire and Belisario. It remains to be seen what becomes of this season for the Dodgers, but a brawl like this can create the chemistry that is needed for teams to win the World Series that no amount of money can ever buy.
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