We’re just hours removed from one of the most exciting and preposterous baseball fights that has been seen in quite some time, and it’s hard to blame you if you can’t stop thinking about it. After all, this wasn’t one of those baseball “fight” fights, this was a baseball fight fight.
The best thing about Tuesday’s Reds-Pirates brawl in Cincinnati is how unique it was. While most fights begin with a player charging the mound, this one began with Reds reliever Amir Garrett charging OFF the mound and towards the opponent’s dugout to seemingly take on the entire team by himself.
All this talk about baseball’s pace of play problem… who knew this was the change of pace we all needed?
But Garrett charging the Pirates‘ dugout was just part of the fun in this brouhaha. Let’s break down some of the key moments in the tussle.
Before we get to anything else, it’s important to note that this game had pretty great theater before a punch was even thrown. One of the best moments pre-fight came when Yasiel Puig disagreed with a strike call and decided to respond by taking a real dramatic stroll out of the batter’s box. Not only did argue the call, he also tossed his helmet and spent his sweet time just letting his argument marinate with the home plate umpire. He even struck a pose. Legendary petty move.
That Puig incident led to Reds manager David Bell running out of the dugout to argue with the home plate umpire, who promptly threw him out of the game. But we’d see Bell again.
Alright, let’s get to the rough stuff.
Garrett charges the dugout
One of the most underrated aspects of the fight is how it all began on the mound. Garrett was chirping back and forth with the Pirates dugout quite a bit and Derek Johnson, who was filling in for the ejected Bell, came out to visit Garrett on the mound.
Garrett was clearly animated in their discussion and, from all indications, he seemed to let Johnson know just how annoyed he was with the Pirates’ bench. He seemingly told Johnson of his intentions to charge the dugout, to which the pitching coach responded by telling his own bench to go fetch Bell from the clubhouse. He then gave Garrett the green light to get nasty. He pats him on the butt and lets him run free. Just look at how unsurprised he is to see the pitcher take off toward the bench.
Of course, we have to examine the quality of the punches thrown in the initial charge. Had Garrett made a solid connection with his intended target, we’d be talking about this brawl’s place among the all-time great incidents of baseball violence — right up there alongside Nolan Ryan’s headlock of Robin Ventura, Rougned Odor dropping Jose Bautista, A-Rod getting a face full of Varitek’s catcher’s mit and Don Zimmer getting head-tossed by Pedro Martinez.
However, his first throw was juuuuuuust a bit outside, while the next few made connections but weren’t heavy by any means. They were enough to send the recipient to the ground, so there’s that.
Coaches throw it down
One of the more interesting parts of this brawl was the level of involvement from the coaches. You can see Bell make a grand re-entry by sprinting out of the dugout and immediately confronting Pirates manager Clint Hurdle with a shove. (Bell is the first guy entering with a red sweatshirt from the right side of the GIF.)
Be sure to also notice one of the Reds’ base coaches, wearing a plastic helmet, engage in the festivities by jumping the pile and getting right into the thick of things. Champ.
Then we see Bell basically frothing at the mouth as he attempts to get at Hurdle, all the while shouting obscenities and looking like a guy who’s had about 14 beers too many but just won’t leave the bar. Unfortunately for Bell, the bouncer in this situation is a gritty Mr. Clean lookalike who most likely cashes checks as the Pirates’ strength coach. If not, my apologies, but he’s clearly equipped for that role.
Chris Archer takes the L
We must acknowledge the biggest loser of this battle — Pirates starter Chris Archer. He’s no stranger to mixing things up but this certainly wasn’t his best showing, as he got completely pancaked, trampled and rag dolled from the very get-go. He never stood a chance.
It will likely come as no surprise that Puig was eager to get involved, despite the hilarious fact that he had unknowingly been traded by the Reds just minutes before this entire brawl began. I’m not sure how you allow a guy to stay in the game after trading him, let alone allow him to go full Hulk in the middle of a fight, but I’m sure glad it happened.
Anyway, things appeared to be simmering to a low boil when Puig was irritated by Pittsburgh’s Kyle Crick. A steaming hot Puig made a charge at Crick, who responded with an amazingly weird hip thrust right in his grill. It’s so bizarre I have no choice but to respect it, but Crick is very fortunate about 400 people found their way in between him and Puig immediately after that move.
As things were continued to almost cool down, Garrett was escorted off the field by some fellow Reds personnel, though not before he was able to deliver a parting message. “I’m like that” with a double-bicep flex is an all-time exit from a baseball game and I will hear no arguments against that.
Puig yells at his own… “teammates”
The two sides finally began retreating and heading back to their respective benches, but Puig wasn’t done. Instead, he turned his anger and attention toward his own teammates — excuse me, his ex-teammates — and got on their case for not being as willing to dive into the proverbial mud.
There doesn’t seem to be a more fitting end to Puig’s tenure anywhere, though this one could have been just a little more perfect had the Reds been wearing their sleeveless throwbacks for the occasion. Maybe he could have hit a few barbell reps post-fight on his way through the dugout for the last time. It would have been a masterpiece.
In any case,but baseball fights are apparently very ready to step into the spotlight. Honestly, I’m here for it.