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2nd MLB Fight Of The Day

The Padres-Rockies got things started in the daytime and the Yankees-Red Sox got loose in the nighttime.

April 12, 2018 - 11:51 am
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The only thing more surprising than one baseball fight yesterday was two baseball fights yesterday. The Padres-Rockies got things started in the daytime and the Yankees-Red Sox got loose in the nighttime. Twice. A double-header of bench-clearings in the night portion of a day-night doubleheader of fights.  

And, just as with the Padres-Rockies THROWDOWN, the Yankees-Red Sox bout didn’t start with a guy getting hit by a pitch. It started before that. Let’s go to the top of the third inning with Yankees DH Tyler Austin was on first and Tyler Wade at the plate.

Red Sox second baseman Brock Holt didn’t like the slide and let Austin know about it. Austin didn’t like being told that and the benches emptied. Well, sort of. This was more of the classic baseball “fight” in quotation marks. Someone believing there was a code violation, nobody really knowing if there was, and then a bunch of dudes bumping their gums. 

Let’s move ahead to the seventh inning. Red Sox reliever Joe Kelly is on the mound. And here’s something you should know about Joe Kelly. He enters the game to the remix of that Walmart Yodeling kid. So you know he’s for real. You roll to the mound to yodeling and you know instantly that’s just not a dude you want to try.  

And sure enough, after getting the first out of the inning, Tyler Austin came to the plate. Tyler Austin, meet Joe Kelly. Joe Kelly, Tyler Austin. LET’S GET IT ON!

That was a 97.7 mile per hour heater right to the elbow. And Austin was pissed… I’m not sure what was more impressive – Austin smashing his bat against the ground or Joe Kelly standing on the mound, waving him out, and saying “come on.” Call it a tie.

But that tie was broken by Kelly landing a couple of glancing blows on Austin’s dome. In the fight of Kelly v. Austin, I’d score that a 10-9 round. In the score of Kelly v. The World, his postgame comment is a 10-8 round: "I mean, I was ready to defend myself. If someone comes on my property in my backyard, I'm going to put up two dogs and get ready to defend myself."

I don’t know if that is a metaphor and he’s referring to his fists as dogs or if he’s saying something about a cookout and offering up a couple of hot dogs or if that’s a statement of fact, but in any case, I’m not going in Joe Kelly’s backyard. Because he will go.  

And it’s not like Austin won’t go either. He landed a shot on the Red Sox pitching coach. And this wasn’t just a bunch of undercard fighters, or clubbers, either. CC Sabathia was in there, shoving guys to the ground. Aaron Judge had Kelly in a headlock at one point. Giancarlo Stanton was rushing in as well, which gave Boston’s Brock Holt, the guy who’d been on the wrong of Austin’s slide to think better of standing in and trading with those two monsters, quote: "Yeah, I'm not trying to get involved with any of those guys. I mean, not just those two. They have a pretty big team over there."

They do have a big team and that was a decent brawl. Just don’t get it twisted. It wasn’t Pedro v. Zimmer so don’t even mention those two names in this context. Nothing will ever top a Hall of Fame pitcher heaving a 72-year-old bench coach to the ground by his head.  

As always, the question is: who was in the right and who was in the wrong? And the answer is a lot of gray. Tyler Austin’s slide on Holt wasn’t dirty, but it wasn’t clean either. As Holt himself said, it wasn’t intentional, but he “went in hard a little late with his spikes up.” That sounds about right. Does it justify a near-triple digit heater to the elbow? Probably not. 

And then there’s the other cardinal rule of throwing at a guy – you get one chance. If you blow it, and it sure looked like Kelly was looking for Austin earlier in the at-bat – then you have to move on. If you’re trying to intentionally hit a guy, you can’t try to intentionally hit him twice. That’s the code. I didn’t write it and the only people who actually understand it, are the guys who have played the game at that level. But the code is still part of baseball and that is part of the code.  

AGAIN, I’m not condoning violence on the field, although the next person who gets up to leave during a benches clearing brawl will be the first. I am saying anything that makes these two hate each other even more than they already do is absolutely fine by me. I don’t want anyone to get their face broken, but anything that keeps the AL East race popping from now until October is tremendous. And as I said with the Padres and Rockies, best know, that fight didn’t end yesterday: they just went back to their respective corners for a minute break. They’ll be standing in the middle of the ring again, trading haymakers before you know it. Two good brawls, on the same day, and we’re not in the middle of April yet. Nowhere near the dog days of summers; nowhere near playing for anything that matters yet. And if I told you I didn’t like seeing it, I’d be lying. 

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