One of the lamest cases of lost tempers in sports is the basebrawl, baseball’s high school dance of benches-clearing, guys standing around and maybe wrestling a little, showing we’re-not-really-angry team solidarity over some perceived slight.
Sure, occasionally you get a baseball fight that goes down in the annals of history as one of the most awesome things you’ve ever seen.
When Nolan Ryan beat the snot out of Robin Ventura when Ryan was 46 years old, tributes were written at the time, and when the 25th anniversary of the event comes around on Aug. 4, you can bet your life savings that shows like “SportsCenter” will have a full retrospective and treat it with the same reverence they treat Babe Ruth’s “Called Shot” in the 1932 World Series.
And when Giants pitcher Juan Marichal clobbered John Roseboro of the Dodgers with his bat in 1965 after Roseboro aimed his throw back to pitcher Sandy Koufax a little too close to Marichal’s face, another iconic MLB moment was born.
And 25 years after Ryan and 53 after Marichal, the next generation of legendary baseball fights … well, it didn’t happen Friday night.
The Cardinals and Brewers emptied their benches, held up the game, and got themselves into a good old brouhaha … over a player asking his opponent who had just been involved in a close play at second base and had hit the deck in a collision whether he was OK.
In the eighth inning, with the score tied 1-1, Eric Sogard of the Brewers was on first base when Hernan Perez attempted a sacrifice bunt to move Sogard into scoring position.
Sogard, who was tagged out by a falling Munoz, asked Munoz if he was OK after the collision. Munoz either misheard what he said or took it as sarcasm, and the whole thing exploded less like a nuclear blast and more like a kernel of popcorn.
Munoz, after the game, explained that it was a heat-of-the-moment misunderstanding.
“We got caught up in the moment,” Munoz said. “He didn’t say anything at all. I just want to leave it at that.”
Sogard, meanwhile, confirmed that he was merely concerned for his opponent.
“The first words that came out of my mouth were, ‘Are you all right?'” Sogard said. “I don’t know if he understood what I was saying, but he got a little mad and I guess we both got a little fired up.
While the Brewers failed to advance Sogard to second, Christian Yelich drew a two-out walk to put runners on first and second. But Hicks struck out Lorenzo Cain to end the eighth inning and keep the score tied.
The Brewers’ Jesus Aguilar hit a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth to give Milwaukee a 2-1 win.
And so one of the lamest basebrawls in MLB history passes into the historical footnotes. The world will have to wait for another Ryan or Marichal.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.