Sports Opinion & Analysis

The Dumbest Brawl in Years

In MLB on April 12, 2013 at 7:23 pm

By Chris Hallenbrook

Let me make one thing very clear right of the bat, I’m not against fighting in baseball per se. There are times when it is necessary to mix it up with the other team. Sometimes one pitcher has buzzed the tower one too many times and you have to stand up for yourself before he scrambles your brains. Other times somebody picks a fight with one of your teammates and you’ve got to defend him just as he would defend you. (Think Varitek vs. A-Rod 2004, when Varitek got between A-Rod and Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo, and when asked about the looming suspension after the game told reporters “I was protecting my teammate, for that I’ll take what comes.”) But last night’s donnybrook between the Dodgers and the Padres is one brawl in which everyone involved was D-U-M-B dumb.

"You guys need a ride to the hospital?"

“You guys need a ride to the hospital?”

Carlos Quentin. I know this is the third time Greinke has hit you, which is uncharacteristic “wildness” on his part, so maybe the dude has it out of you, I don’t know. What I do know is it was a 3-2 pitch with the Dodgers holding a one run lead with no outs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Greinke would be a fool to put the tying run on by plunking you (more on that later). Plus, you led the league in getting hit by the pitch each of the last two years, last year getting hit 17 times in only 86 games, and 116 times in your 710 game career. Those kind of numbers usually mean one thing: you’re crowding the plate. If you don’t like getting hit, stand further back in the box. Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly got it right after the game when he called you an “idiot.”

In other news, Quentin will take the place of Ray Lewis on the Baltimore Ravens next year.

In other news, Quentin will take the place of Ray Lewis on the Baltimore Ravens next year.

Zack Greinke. What were you thinking? If you did hit him on purpose, everything I just said about the in-game situation makes you dumb for putting a grudge ahead of winning the game. And whether you did or didn’t, getting mouthy, dropping the glove and rushing at him would be admirable in hockey, but this is baseball and you’re a pitcher. That means you should never endanger your arm, especially when you are giving up forty pounds to the guy at the plate. While I always hate to see a player injured, your broken collar bone reminds me of the scene in Top Gun when Goose foreshadows his own tragic demise by telling Maverick “the Department of Defense regrets to inform you that your sons are dead because they were stupid.” Reports are you’ll miss at least two months, and you’re the ace of that staff. Congratulations, whether you meant to hit him or not, you let down your teammates in order to satisfy your macho pride and that is the greatest sin in team sports.

Matt Kemp. Way to stay classy by mixing it up in street clothes after leaving the clubhouse. This is the Major Leagues, The Show, the Big Time, not some bush league outfit in the middle of nowhere. You said of Quentin: “I think Carlos Quentin went to Stanford, something like that? I heard there’s smart people at Stanford. That wasn’t too smart. Greinke didn’t do anything wrong. That stuff happens in the minor leagues. It doesn’t happen in the big leagues.” That’s pretty ironic given taking it outside to tangle in the parking lot is straight out of high school.

What do you expect from a guy who wears his own name like a brand?

What do you expect from a guy who wears his own name like a brand?

Let’s be honest, there is plenty of blame to go around in this fight. There are no white hats and black hats here; no clear cut case of fighting to protect oneself or one’s teammates. Luckily for our amateur pugilists MLB disciplinarian Joe Garagiola, Jr. will only be handing out suspensions for their actions on the field, not their stupidity.

  1. […] on one specific, ultimately minor, sporting event, allow me to follow up on Jonathan Danielson and Chris Hallenbrook’s coverage of the Padres-Dodgers brawl. Hallenbrook writes that this was “the dumbest brawl in years.” […]

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