SweetSpot: Tim Federowicz
June, 12, 2013
By David Schoenfield | ESPN.com
Tuned in to watch Puig, and before I get to see him a brawl erupts and he's ejected. Scully calls a brawl as calmly as a flyout to RF.— Dave Haller (@HallerDave) June 12, 2013
Tuesday's Arizona Diamondbacks-Los Angeles Dodgers game was anything but calm, however, with benches emptying, coaches fighting, punches thrown and multiple suspensions in order. It was an ugly brawl, the kind we used to routinely see in the 1980s and '90s, not the meet-and-greet, exchange-phone-numbers stuff we usually see now.
We had Dodgers coach Mark McGwire locked up with Diamondbacks coach Matt Williams. We had Yasiel Puig throwing punches and Dodgers reliever Ronald Belisario doing the honorary Darryl Strawberry bats*** crazy impression. D-backs coach Turner Ward got tossed into the ropes.
After everything had calmed down and the great Vin Scully was running down the ejections, he said Arizona manager Kirk Gibson was ejected for "hollering a lot of chicken stuff." The man is a poet.
Once again, Zack Greinke was in the middle of all this, but it's Arizona pitcher Ian Kennedy who delivered the bush-league moment of the game, throwing a pitch that seemed directed right at Greinke's head. Kennedy should face a harsh suspension; a short one that pushes his next start back a day or two won't be enough. Give him 15 days and make him miss two starts. It's one thing to throw at a guy; it's another to throw at somebody's head, especially when retribution had already been made.
It all began with a scary moment, Kennedy delivering an up-and-in, 0-2 fastball in the sixth inning that glanced off Puig's nose. He was down for a few minutes as he got checked out by the medical staff, but stayed in the game. Kennedy's reaction clearly showed he wasn't trying to hit Puig, but the chain of events had kicked in.
The next inning, Greinke delivered a fastball to the back of Miguel Montero, Arizona's cleanup hitter. Your cleanup hitter for our cleanup hitter. Have to protect our new franchise player. At least Greinke's pitch was done in honorable baseball tradition, thrown where Montero couldn't get hurt. The benches and bullpens cleared and there was some finger-pointing and yelling, but things quieted down.
Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesIan Kennedy's first pitch to Zack Greinke in the seventh inning was a dangerous one.
Until Greinke came to bat in the bottom of the seventh. Kennedy, even though the game was tied 2-2, decided it was more important to throw at somebody's head than to try to win the game, highlighting the absurdity of the whole retribution concept. But sometimes emotions get the better of us and next thing you know, Don Mattingly was fighting Alan Trammell, Belisario was looking to take on the entire Diamondbacks roster, Clayton Kershaw scared the crap out of Dodgers fans by getting in the middle of the scrum, and Puig needed multiple players to restrain him from going after Gibson. Belisario and Puig will likely face suspensions for their roles in the fight.
(As an aside; Mattingly, McGwire, Gibson, Trammell, Williams, Don Baylor ... this had to be greatest list of coaches and managers ever involved in a brawl.)
Meanwhile, we had a baseball game to complete and after Arizona scored in the top of the eighth, the Dodgers plated three in the bottom of the eighth -- catcher Tim Federowicz delivering the bases-clearing double, to be forever remembered as the hero of the 2013 Brawl Game. New closer Kenley Jansen then pitched 1-2-3 ninth to finish off the 5-3 victory.
Whew. Is that all? Huge win for the Dodgers, who had lost five in a row to Arizona. Loved the passion and intensity from Mattingly and McGwire, and my take is that Kennedy and the D-backs were in the wrong here, so I can understand their anger. It certainly is going to make the rest of the Diamondbacks-Dodgers games very interesting.
One hopes cooler heads will prevail Wednesday. As Scully signed off after the final out, "In a sense, I am personally relieved the game is over."