Saturday, August 26, 2017

Miguel Cabrera and Austin Romine Have Nothing on These Yankees Fights

Believe it or not the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers played a baseball game on Thursday afternoon. I know that was hard to see in between all the fighting and with the benches clearing and all but they did. No one will talk about the Yankees loss on that day but they will instead talk about the incident of Gary Sanchez getting plunked, then Miguel Cabrera getting plunked which led to Cabrera and Yankees catcher Austin Romine throwing blows. The brawl was intense, although Sanchez’s timing in throwing a punch when he is hitting so well and with the Yankees in the middle of a pennant race can be debated back-and-forth all weekend if you want, but in my opinion this brawl didn’t have anything on the brawls and fights I am prepared to show you below.

On August 2, 1973 the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees sparked the rivalry that would go on for years to come. I mean these two teams have always been rivals but it was incidents like this that really made the rivalry what it is today. With the game tied 2-2 in the top of the ninth inning at Fenway Park the Yankees third baseman Thurman Munson charged home from third base on an attempted squeeze play. Gene Michael ended up missing the bunt attempt and Munson simply ran over Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk, something his Boston teammates did not take a liking to. Benches cleared, punches were thrown and a rivalry was sparked. Again.

On May 20, 1976 the Yankees and the Red Sox went blow for blow both in the box score and literally on the field. Lou Piniella rounded third in the sixth inning against the Red Sox and when he saw the throw was going to beat him he simply lowered his shoulder and barreled into Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk. Piniella grabbed hold of Fisk’s chest protector as the two wrestled in the dirt before Fisk landed a right hook on Piniella. Graig Nettles was also seen punching left-handed pitcher Bill Lee in the face from Boston before cooler heads prevailed and the fight was broken up. Rivalry…. Renewed.

The brawl between the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees may have been the first brawl I think I ever witnessed live and in person. It was May 19, 1998 and Orioles fire-baller Armando Benitez was on the mound. I remember this because my favorite player at the time, Tino Martinez, was at the plate when he got plunked with a fastball right in the middle of the back in the first pitch Benitez threw after Bernie Williams hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning. Benitez was immediately tossed out of the game but that didn’t pacify Daryl Strawberry, Chad Curtis, Jeff Nelson or Graeme Lloyd as everyone charged the mound and the playing field after the incident. Strawberry had to be restrained by teammates as Benitez backed up and ended up falling into the Orioles dugout. Graeme Lloyd was seen throwing haymakers at Benitez and many Yankees and Orioles were ejected for doing the same in what will probably go down as one of the best fights in Major League Baseball history.

Remember that time Pedro Martinez picked on a 72-year old man and bench coach named Don Zimmer like a pussy cat? I do, and call me bias but I will never forget it because of that incident. Martinez had thrown at Karim Garcia earlier in the game so Roger Clemens responded by throwing up and in, not at because he was never hit, at Manny Ramirez which incited a brawl between the two clubs. Can’t the Yankees and Red Sox get along? Now I’ll be fair and point out that Zimmer did charge Martinez but Pedro did not have to grab him by the head and throw him aside. Also I will be fair and state that in his autobiography that Martinez did say “in my entire baseball career, my reaction to Zimmer’s charge is my only regret” but still. It’s Pedro Martinez and it’s the Red Sox, to hell with the Red Sox and to hell with Pedro. The Yankees did walk off against the Red Sox in Game 7 of the ALCS that season, the Aaron Boone off Tim Wakefield home run, so I guess they got the last laugh here.

Can anyone forget the Alex Rodriguez and Jason Varitek incident on July 24, 2004 at Fenway Park? I know I will never. Bronson Arroyo hit Alex and Rodriguez had his say on the matter as he was slowly walking towards first base. Varitek, the Red Sox catcher, didn’t like Alex mouthing “f*** you” to his pitcher and shoved Alex in the face with both his hands which prompted a wrestling match between the two and resulted in both benches clearing. This was Alex’s first season in Yankees pinstripes and was a true introduction into the rivalry after nearly being traded to the Red Sox the offseason prior. The Red Sox reversed the curse of the Bambino in 2004 though so I guess who laughs last laughs best, or something like that.

And I’ll end this post like this. How many of you think Miguel Cabrera would have stepped to the Yankees catcher after getting hit if that were Gary Sanchez back there? I don’t think he would have, and if he had then in my opinion he is a moron and deserved to get knocked out. Period. But that’s only if you ask me my opinion.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)