Baseball fights are some of the most exciting parts of a baseball game. Take a look at what we've seen so far this year, including a couple of out-of-the-box fights you might not expect.
In early April, it looked like 2018 would be a huge year for baseball fights. There were two bench-clearing brawls on April 11 - one of which reignited the stale (yet ancient) rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees.
Unfortunately, the baseball world has cooled-off since the explosive April fisticuffs. We haven’t seen an MLB fight since then - at least not ones involving the players. Still, there are a few clips we can cherish from 2018, including fights between managers and umpires alongside geese and on-field staff.
Below are the fights we’ve seen so far this year. Hopefully, there are a few more to add to this list before the playoffs roll around.
Joe Kelly vs. Tyler Austin
April 11 was a big day for bench-clearing baseball fights across Major League Baseball. Baseball brawls are back, and fans certainly seem happy to watch. One of the best fights of the day came from Boston during the Red Sox/Yankees game. The two franchises have a history of distaste for one another, but lately, that rivalry has been limited to fan interactions, with the teams refusing to mix it up on the field.
In fact, the on-field rivalry had cooled in recent years, as both teams seem to have been contenders at different times. You would even see the players on the Red Sox and Yankees yucking it up with one another on the bases, showing that the bad blood had all but cooled between the players on each team. 2018 is a different story. Both teams were at the top of the division in April and knew they’d likely face each other in meaningful moments down the stretch.
The April 11 festivities kicked-off when Yankees’ Tyler Austin slid into second base during the third inning. Brock Holt of the Red Sox, who was covering the base at the time, didn’t like the slide and gave Austin an earful about it. On the replay, you can see Austin hit Holt’s leg as he slid over the bag - a baseball play, but certainly could have had malintent behind it. The benches cleared, but nothing of note happened. The two teams stood around second base, had a few words, then went back to their respective dugouts.
It seemed like a few harsh words were all that would come of this interaction - that was until the seventh inning came. Austin was at bat facing Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly. Kelly threw a 98 mph fastball right at Austin’s ribs. Austin wasn’t happy about it, slamming his bat on the ground in frustration.
Kelly wasn’t intimidated by the move whatsoever, though. You can see from the replay; Kelly motioned Austin toward him with a “let’s do it then” attitude. The rest of the fight played out in traditional baseball brawl fashion. Austin charged, and Kelly parried with a big swing and a miss. Austin ended up on the ground where Kelly took another swing at the back of his head but didn’t connect for much damage.
Still, this fight was more of the “real deal” than a lot of the other baseball fights we see. At least the contestants threw punches in this one, even if none of them connected with any force. The teams converged - pushing and shoving one another, but there weren’t any substantial punches thrown by anyone not named Joe Kelly and Tyler Austin. The Yankees went on to win the game and even up the series.
Luis Perdomo vs. Nolan Arenado
Tempers flared across the country on April 11 as well, as the San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies met in Denver. The drama started the day before when Padres center fielder Manuel Margot was on the business end of a 95-mph fastball.
Margot took the fastball to the ribs and had to leave the game. He was on the disabled list the next day with bruised ribs. Margot wasn’t the only Padres player to get drilled by a pitch, but none of these pitches seemed intentional. They may have stung, but it never looked as though Colorado was trying to hit or injure any of the players from San Diego - but they got a taste of their own medicine nonetheless.
The pitch that started the fight took place on the same day of the Joe Kelly/Tyler Austin fight when Padres pitcher Luis Perdomo faced Nolan Arenado. It was the bottom of the third inning with no score when Perdomo threw behind Arenado, striking him in the back.
Arenado didn’t hesitate in charging the mound. He dropped his bat and helmet and went running. Perdomo responded by throwing his glove at the charging Arenado, but that didn’t slow him down very much. After throwing his glove, Perdomo back-peddled away, clearly not interested in mixing-it-up with Arenado. Arenado, though, was able to close the distance and connect with a shot to the top of Perdomo’s head.
The benches cleared after that, and other players from both teams got in the middle of the altercation. As the mosh-pit moved around the infield, Rockies teammates held a fuming Arenado back. A few more players tried to mix it up with the Padres, but nothing much came of it. The scene ended with the ejection of both Perdomo and Arenado, along with catcher A.J. Ellis of the Padres and German Marquez and Gerardo Parra of the Rockies.
Goose Vs. Everyone
There haven’t been too many fights early in the 2018 season, but one hilarious altercation took place between a goose and the entire onfield maintenance staff. A rain delay postponed a portion of the Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels game in late March. Once the game started again, a goose took to the field and delayed the game even further.
Maintenance staff fruitlessly chased the goose around the field for at least five minutes - even sprinting after the bird at times. It was as if they didn’t realize the goose had wings and could continue to elude them for as long as it wanted.
After the pathetic attempts of the on-field staff to corral the winged menace, it seemed as though the goose had lost interest in the game. It flew off the field and toward the stands, finally giving players and fans the hope that the ordeal was over. As soon as the commentators announced the goose’s departure, though, things took a turn. The goose flew directly into the scoreboard in the upper-deck, falling to the ground with force.
Thankfully, the bird was stunned but lived. The camera caught it walking around in the stands shortly after it regained consciousness. Apparently, there was a Detroit veterinarian in the crowd who knew exactly what to do. She wrapped the bird in a blanket and supported its neck as she carried it out of the stadium.
Terry Collins Vs. Tom Hallion
This altercation wasn’t technically from 2018, but the video and audio didn’t surface until this year. Well, it was certainly worth the wait once we heard it. The result was former Mets manager Terry Collins giving umpire Tom Hallion an earful as the latter tried to calm him down.
To get a backstory in the incident, we have to go all the way back to the 2015 NLDS. Chase Utley of the Los Angeles Dodgers took a dirty slide into second base, breaking Ruben Tejada’s leg in the process. Tempers flared at the time, but it wasn’t until the next regular season the Mets tried to get their revenge. When the Mets and Dodgers met again in 2016, Noah Syndergaard threw behind Chase Utley. Home plate Umpire Adam Hamari knew the situation and ejected Syndergaard from the game without warning. As you can surmise, Terry Collins wasn’t happy with the ejection.
Collins came out of the dugout with a head of steam and was eventually met by Umpire Tom Hallion, who had a hot mic. What followed was one of the epic back-and-forths of our time, filled with” asses in jackpots” and a lot of “Terry! Terry!” Of course, the MLB doesn’t like their fans sharing viral clips like these, and tried to “scrub” the video from the internet. They’re currently learning the hard way that the internet is like Whack-A-Mole. For every video, you remove, three more pop up in its place.
The Fighting Will Never Stop
As long as people are throwing baseballs at one another and sliding with the intent to injure, baseball will always have fights. Sure, those fights will mostly end in shoving matches, but every once in a while we get a clean shot like the Odor, Bautista fight from 2016.
This year hasn’t been a big year for baseball fights, but it’s still young. Hopefully, they’ll be many more to add to this list by the time October rolls around.