Category Archives: brawl

The Brawl, revisited

illustration by Samara Pearlstein

So I said I would have things for you to look at after this weekend, and I am kind of slow, you know, this is a lot of material, but here it is. This can no longer be called “morning” by any stretch of the imagination but at least it’s still Monday.

You can click that drawing to look at it bigger, by the way, although I’m not real sure why you’d want to do so.

In addition to the inky reenactment up above, I have finished with the photos from this first game (still working on shots from the other two Tigs/Sox games I went to). There are kind of a lot of them. Highlights below! (and remember to click the “read more” link)

Typical Inge.

Clete and Miggy shoving one another. They were playing keep-away/soccer with one of Miggy’s gloves. The game ended when Miggy booted it into the dugout.

It wouldn’t be a true Dave Dombrowski sighting without a striped shirt being involved.

How ridiculously adorable is this team?

That adorable.

Lots of shenanigans from Cabrera and Inge.

Miggy reacting to getting hit on the hand, and commiserating with Youkilis at third shortly thereafter. Which is kind of hilarious, of course, because not too long after that:

(click to continue!)

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brawlin' in Boston

photo by Samara Pearlstein

You guys! You guys! You guys!


*incoherent gesturing*

So I have a lot– a LOT– of photos from this one, and before the game Miguel Cabrera was asking Brandon Inge to throw baseballs at his chest, and then he was playing keep-away soccer with someone’s glove and Clete, and I said hi to Dave Dombrowski and he asked how I was doing, and I got my first (horrifying) in-person looks at The Mustache, and THERE WAS A BRAWL YOU GUYS, A TIGERS/RED SOX BRAWL, I CAN’T EVEN

*more incoherent gesturing*

Game tomorrow, game Thursday, I’m gonna get a little backed up on photos, but I just had to get SOMETHING up about this one, because WOW. Even though we lost: wow.

What was the Rod’n’Mario brawl reaction like? Someone needs to fill me in on that one.

Gary Sheffield knows where you sleep

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Is Sheffield getting crazier as he gets older, or is this just par for the course? I feel like I haven’t followed him closely enough in the past to say for sure.

As you all know, this past Friday Sheffield was involved in a rather spirited brawl with the Racist Logos. Many punches were thrown, many lulz were had, etc. Sheff’s been suspended for four games and he’s not appealing, so he’ll start sitting tonight.
The fantastic bit is what he said while talking about the suspension.

“It’s on,” said Sheffield, who added he wouldn’t appeal the suspension or the undisclosed fine announced by Bob Watson, vice-president of MLB on-field operations.

Sheffield said he received “cheap shots” during the melee and planned to take matters into his own hands.

“When guys take cheap shots, I take that personal,” Sheffield said. “When I find out who they are, they’re going to have to deal with me. They’re going to be penalized by me, too.

“You’ll see. I’m not one of those guys who talks what I’m going to do. I’m just going to do what I’m going to do.”
Steve Grinczel/ article

This is like a perfect nugget of crazy. I want to frame it and hang it on my wall.

Gary Sheffield is not going to talk [about? up?] what he’s going to do. He’s just going to do what he’s going to do. BUT WHAT IS HE GOING TO DO?? In case you weren’t sure, we do not in fact play the Racist Logos again this season. Is he going to let this hate fester in his heart until Spring Training? Is he going to spend the entire winter watching tape of the brawl over and over again until he knows with 100% certainty who it was that popped him in the back of the head, so that he may exact his bloody revenge when the ’09 season starts up?

Or is he going to track, like, Asdrubal Cabrera down in the middle of November and, I dunno, sneak up on him while he’s out buying groceries, ambush him, and punch him in the liver until he says ‘sorry’?

I don’t know. But Gary Sheffield knows. He knows that some dudes are gonna get PENALIZED!! ‘Cause IT’S ON!

(If you don’t get the image, please refer back to this post and the perfect nugget of crazy that came from that particular Sheff-incident.)

ETA: Wow, that game was no fun whatsoever. I don’t really want to post about it and I have to be up at 5 am anyways, so I’m leaving this post up and you can all enjoy Gary Sheffield’s belligerent insanity instead of reading about our deeply depressing fight for last place in the Central. Tuesday’s game is at 7:05 pm EDT, Freddy Garcia vs. Zach Greinke. Remember, these games now matter, not for the prideful excesses of playoff baseball, not for the marginally respectable goal of having a record at or above .500, but instead for the humbling struggle to not be the worst team in a bad division. Think about ending the season under the Royals, and tremble with that fear. Go Tigers!

the Spazzosaurus makes friends with Gary Sheffield, Gary Sheffield makes fights happen for the Spazzosaurus

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

He’s baaaaaack!

This game featured a(nother) excellent start from Armando (had some time to rest up, I guess), TWO two-run homers for Miguel Cabrera The Most Majestic of Pumas, and a triple (!) from Ramon Santiago (!!). There was also a brawl. The Tigers lost the game on a walk-off after having been up 5-2 at one point, so we’re mostly going to talk about the hilarious fighting.

A fight summary, as near as I could make out from the Cleveland broadcast:

Sheffield got hit by a pitch. He stared on his way down to first. He stared and stared and stared. He also carried his bat aaaaallll the way from homeplate to first, where he eventually handed it off to the batboy. Apparently it’s more threatening to carry your bat with you. Carmona kind of eyed him as he went, but he was also wiping his nose a lot so it didn’t seem like a big deal.

It was pretty obvious that Sheff thought the pitch was intentional, and it seemed almost certain that the pitch was NOT intentional, but you cats know how Sheffield gets. He takes things personally. Very, very personally. He also has been extremely frustrated by this season, and one may assume that this frustration is only increasing as the season goes on.

The ridiculous/amusing thing here is that it did not look like there was going to be any kind of altercation following the HBP, because, aside from the staring and the bit with the posturing with the bat, Sheff took his base without complaint. It was only when Carmona threw a ball over to first to check on Sheff that the trouble began, because at that point Sheff gestured sweepingly towards the batter and vehemently invited Carmona to quit bollocksing around and throw home.

Carmona said something that looked an awful lot like, “Oh, you want a piece of me?” Steps were taken by both towards one another.

Sheff charged in, taking the low route and… well, let’s not put too fine a point on it, he head-butted Carmona in the stomach. If it was not already incredibly obvious that Sheffield was fully in the thrall of the Spazzosaurus and his feeding-on-spazz-energy feedback loop, it was made clear at the moment when Sheff’s cranium made contact with Carmona’s jersey.

Although this position may have been momentarily advantageous for Sheffield, it quickly began to work against him, as Carmona got him in a headlock and started punching him on the top of his head, all Nolan Ryan style (although he didn’t seem to be throwing punches nearly as hard as Nolan Ryan’s; these were sort of like extra vigorous noogies). The Cleveland broadcasters would later say that Sheffield’s nose was bleeding, but it was hard for me to tell whether or not that was actually the case on my small pixelly window of glory.

You can see Carmona and Sheffield locked in a Spazzosaurian dance in the middle there. The hatless blonde dude on the right is Brandon Inge, who leapt into action to tackle Victor Martinez to the ground… not, apparently, to beat up on him, but just to keep him temporarily down and out of the way.

Scrum scrum scrum! In the top screenshot you can see Rafael Perez with his jersey all verklempt. One of the coaches fixed it up for him like a mom, it was very sweet. In the bottom screenshot you can see Dusty Ryan (52) on the right trying to jump on top of the pile. He didn’t really get up there.

After he escaped from Inge, Victor Martinez had to be restrained by Miguel Cabrera. Miggy and Magglio actually were very dedicated to Stopping the Violence here, and basically spent the entire brawl running around holding people back dramatically and probably shouting things like, “Why can’t we all just get along?!” The Spazzosaurus, so giddy with the abundance of feasting materials before him, must have overlooked them in the buffet or something.

Carmona was at one point being restrained almost entirely by Tigers players – here he’s being held back by a highly concerned-looking Magglio and what I am pretty sure is Kenny Rogers. His own team did pull him back eventually…

…including this touching moment with Sal Fasano, who tried to calm Carmona down the only way catchers know: with lots of, well, touching. Carmona pressed his fist into Fasano’s stomach, not hard, just as a kind of ‘arrrgh I am so riled up man I cannot even express’ gesture, and Fasano held onto his wrist as if to say, ‘I know dude, I know, I’m here for you.’ With lots more swearing on the part of Carmona.

Sheffield was eventually forcibly restrained by coaches, led away, and later herded away from the dugout exits by Gene Lamont, who did not seem to be having as good a time as Gibby had back in ’05.

Sheffield, Polanco, Carmona and Martinez were all ejected. The Racist Logos went on to win in stupid ARRRGH BULLPEN fashion. Some pretty amazing postgame quotes from Sheff:

“There’s a point I get to where it’s hard to come back from,” Sheffield said. “And when I get to that point, they’re going to have to deal with me — today, tomorrow and the next day, until I get you.”

“He called me out,” Sheffield said. “If you call me out, I answer the call.”

“I’m trying to throw him to the ground,” Sheffield said of Carmona. “That way, I can see what’s coming at me. But when I’m throwing him to the ground, I’m getting punched in the back of the head.”

He eventually discovered who was punching him. After he was ejected, he went into the clubhouse and watched replays to find out.

“I saw the tape,” he said. “I know who they are. And I guarantee you, they’ll have to deal with me.”

Those replays also showed Sheffield landing a punch on Carmona once they collided.

“I got the one hand I needed to get in,” Sheffield said, “and I guarantee you he felt it.”

“If he wants to do something, charge right there [after the hit-by-pitch],” [Victor] Martinez said. “He didn’t say anything. Just shut your mouth and keep playing the game.”

Sheffield took particular issue with Martinez, especially once he started yelling.

“This guy, I don’t know how many years he has, but his act is tired,” Sheffield said, “all this macho [act], throwing the equipment off. … One thing I don’t like is when somebody’s talking and making a big scene and backing up. If you’re going to talk to me, be a man.”
Jason Beck/

Gary Sheffield is a crazy man filled with crazy. And anger. And more crazy. He will certainly be issued a suspension, and I would assume the same for Carmona at least.

Now, here are my remaining big questions about this and other important Tigers matters.

What did Polanco do to get ejected?
I’m not really sure. I thought I saw him grappling a bit with Martinez at one point, but it kind of looked like he was restraining the guy, not trying to spike him in the spleen. Sheff, Carmona, and Martinez were all fairly obvious tossings… I guess there’s always one random in every brawl.

Where was Kyle Farnsworth?
This brawl was nowhere near as good as The Last Great Tigers Fight, and this is in a significant way attributable to the distinct lack of Kyle Farnsworth going crazy and beating the baseball out of some opposing player. We finally get the guy back on the team, we FINALLY have a brawl, and he’s a non-factor? No pile-drives? No unstoppable evasion of desperate coaches? No holding a dude down and punching his face until he looks like a hockey player? I am SORELY disappointed in you, Kyle.

Why are the Cleveland announcers so annoying?
Nowhere near as annoying as the Wrong Sox announcers, of course, but they were 128% convinced that Gary Sheffield was the root of all troubles in the world, that Fausto Carmona had done nothing wrong and was the most innocent victim in this entire thing, and other such homerisms. Sheff WAS the instigator, clearly, but come ON, Carmona was barking back at him and that’s what set him off in the end.

If he’d ignored Sheff then Sheff probably would have huffed and puffed and blown himself out, and after the game he would’ve made some overly generalized and vaguely racist comment about Latino players (again) and we all could’ve put this behind us without anyone getting so much as a jockstrap out of place.

Plus they kept saying, “That’s it! Thankyouverymuch!” whenever a Tigers pitcher was pulled, and it got obnoxious.

How sad is Armando right now?
Probably pretty sad. Poor guy bounced back from a couple of bad games and had himself another quality start, only to watch it overshadowed first by a bunch of men in spandex pants jumping on each other, and then overshadowed again by a bunch of men in spandex pants completely failing to hold a three-run lead. He pitched 7.2 innings and didn’t walk anyone and struck out five and got nothing for his troubles.

Will there be photos of rookie hazing?
THERE DAMN WELL BETTER BE. Granderson was in charge of outfits this season, and the following rookies were tormented with the following costumes:

Freddy Dolsi — French maid
Armando Galarraga — Cha Cha girl
Chris Lambert — Bridezilla
Clay Rapada — Female cop
Dusty Ryan — Caveman with a club
Dane Sardinha — Hercules
Jeff Larrish — She-devil
Matt Joyce — Neverland fairy
Curtis Granderson/ blog

I would say that Sardinha and Dusty got off easy, but that really depends on whether or not their costumes include pants. Regardless: there had better be photos from someone, somewhere, and they had better be made available to the public. I’ve already seen/been traumatized by this year’s rookie hazing of the Red Sox and Padres kittens. The Tigers can’t fall down on the job.

The Race to .500!
is officially dead. With today’s loss there are NO SPARE LOSSES REMAINING and the Tigers are guaranteed to finish the season UNDER .500. Awesome. And by ‘awesome’ I mean ‘terrible’.

Saturday’s game is at 7:05 pm EDT, Justin Verlander vs. Jeremy Sowers. It will probably not be as entertaining as tonight’s game… unless Sheff is out there again and decides to exact the revenge he threatened in those quotes up above. You may want to watch for that. Go Tigers!

Jeremy Bonderman's magical happy hitting world; and in other news, Roman Colon goes crazy

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Last night was a total image cop-out, so today you get THREE!

Jeremy Bonderman’s magical happy hitting world, otherwise known as Tonight’s Game.

It is imperative that I first point out that the Phillies announcers on Philly Comcast SportsNet (don’t know who they are) are UNSPEAKABLY BORING. Their voices are so… slow… and dull… and low… it’s like they’re actively trying to put the entire audience to sleep. The conjecture in my house is that they were selected precisely for their soporific announcing qualities, in order to keep homebound Phillie fans sedated.

This game saw yet another historical Tigers event occur: Bondo’s first big league hit ever! It was about the ugliest damn single you’ll ever see in your life; the ball scuttled past Lieber, the third baseman had to come running way in to get it and threw it just wide of the base. It could have been a hard-luck error on the third baseman, but the scorers were feeling generous and gave Bondo his hit.

Even making contact with the ball was a big step for Bondo, who usually either stands and watches strike three float by or swings wildly at a ball two feet off the plate. The fact that he managed to get the bat around on the ball is a little shocking, because connecting bats and balls is pretty low on the overall spectrum of Bondermanian behaviors (unless it’s the first inning, and the bats aren’t his).

The Tigers dugout started loudly agitating for the ball, which had ended up in the Phillie dugout, and the Phillies threw it over. They were probably equally amused…maybe less amused when the Tigers continued to hit and Bondo came around to score.

Verlander, upon receiving Bondo’s precious first ever hit ball, doffed his cap and waved it at the Phillies in sincere thanks. Now that, my friends, is sportsmanship. On both sides.

When Bondo came around on his run (eeee!), of course everyone greeted him at the dugout steps. The best though was Pudge, who very very badly suppressed laughter, doing that “snerk, snerk” thing before giving up and laughing his patented thousand-toothed crazy Pudge laugh. Then all the pitchers had to come over and congratulate him when he was in the dugout. I believe that last year Jeremy Bonderman was declared the worst hitting pitcher on the team, so this was a big moment for everyone.

Phillie announcer: “I’m really impressed, how they don’t chase a lot of pitches. You can see why they’re such a good-hitting team.” Really a shocking turnaround from the Tigers teams of not-so-long-ago. Comparing ’em to the rest of baseball, Tiger strikeouts are relatively down (21st in the league) and walks are relatively up (13th in the league). So weird to see that.

Jose Mesa got into the game, reminding us all how o-so-pleasant it is to be on the other side of that particular reliever. Of course today is the day that Tim Byrdak decides to be not-so-hot… and then Fernando. You all know my feelings on Fernando Rodney. I could repeat them over and over again, but at this point the only way I could mix it up would be by using some words I’m not really allowed to use here on the MVN.

Jimmy Rollins hit his “league leading” 9th triple of the year because it bounced off the wall over Sheffield’s head. For a second there I forgot that this was interleague and was all… “HELL NO. CURTIS GRANDERSON LEADS THE WORLD IN TRIPLES.” Which is still probably true (I do not know who the triples leaders in the various Asian and Central/South American Leagues are, so I can’t QUITE say ‘world’).

I think those were the high points of the game. Really it was all about Bondo and the sparkly magical occurrence that is him getting a hit.

Roman Colon has a temper, photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

In other Tigers news! Roman Colon goes crazy, alternatively titled “Get Your Filthy F-ing Hands off of My iPod or I’ll Break Your F-ing Face… LITERALLY.”

Literally, literally. I wish this was another one of my insane imaginary baseball world things, but it is not. Here’s how it apparently went down.

Virgil Vasquez, a right-handed pitcher, turned down the music on Colon’s iPod before Tuesday’s game.

Colon admonished Vasquez, prompting infielder Kevin Hooper, one of the team’s clubhouse leaders, to intervene. Hooper asked Colon to relax, at which point pitcher Jordan Tata became involved.

Colon and Tata engaged in a brief shoving match, prompting Karnuth to step in and attempt to break it up. Karnuth was then punched in the face.

Karnuth, the Mud Hens’ closer, sustained broken bones in his face when he was punched during the fight.

Karnuth… is due to have plastic surgery Monday. Screws will be inserted into his cheek, and it’s possible he will not pitch again this season.
Detroit Free Press article

Colon LITERALLY broke his face. Because he had the audacity to try to keep his teammates from killing each other over iPOD VOLUME. I mean, how disruptive could the thing have been anyways? If he had it plugged into speakers I feel like they would’ve said “they wanted him to turn his music down”, not iPod… this makes me think they could hear it while headphones were plugged in, in which case… c’mon, Roman, don’t you realize you’re making yourself deaf with those shenanigans?

Wait, though, it gets ‘better’.

Colon is believed to have thrown the punch, although when reached by telephone Thursday night, he said, “To be honest, I don’t even know if I hit him or not. I swear to God. I saw the trainers the next day, and I have no scars on my fingers.”

“I didn’t even know he was hit,” Colon said. “I was surprised. I just said, ‘Jason, I’m sorry. I’m real, real sorry.’ I called him the next morning. I apologized to him.”
Detroit Free Press article

Karnuth got punched in the face hard enough to require RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGERY, and you expect us to believe you had no idea whether or not you hit him? No. Sorry. Not buying it. And if Colon’s punch managed to miss Karnuth’s teeth (which it sounds like he did, what with the screws needing to be put in Karnuth’s cheek and all), it’s definitely possible that even a forceful punch would not have ‘scarred’ his knuckles.

The fun, unfortunately, just keeps on coming.

“I should not be the only one suspended,” Colon said. “Why would I be suspended when they were calling me a (expletive) to my face?”

Asked why he believes he was the only player suspended, Colon said, “When they called people into the office to ask what happened in the fight, there were no Latino people in there. So, I was alone.”
Detroit Free Press article


I’m not sure what exactly was said that made him think DIE FACE PUNCHY PUNCH was an appropriate reaction, due to newspaper censorship. I’m also not sure what, uh, being the only Latino player in the office when suspension was discussed had to do with anything. It sounds like he thought if they had called in a bunch of other Latino players as witnesses to the fight, they would have backed up Colon’s claims that he… blacked out and Karnuth’s face imploded all by itself? I don’t know. I guess he wanted some of the other guys to get suspensions too, or at least Tata, and… other Latino players would have made it clear that Colon wasn’t the only one throwing fists?

Or maybe he felt it was unfair that it was a bunch of American guys and their word up against his, and he was all alone, and… Dominican… and what that has to do with anything I do not know, but Colon seems to think it important. Maybe he wanted a translator and they didn’t let him have one? That would not have been OK… but he seems to get by with the newspaper guys well enough…

I can only say that I don’t think he was singled out here because he’s Latino. I think it’s much more likely that he was singled out because he’s the only one who BROKE THE CLOSER’S FACE.

I guess there is a lesson here for us all: Don’t Touch Another Man’s iPod.

The catcher’s race is really close right now, and if you want to see the REAL best catcher in the AL go to the All Star game, you had better get your rump over to the ballot right now and cast some votes for Pudge! Remember, you can vote up to 25 times (per email!), and voting goes on until 11:59 pm, June 28. VOTE POLANCO. VOTE MAGGS. VOTE PUDGE.

oh dramatic male posturing, you make for the BEST fights!

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Ha ha ha WHAT

No, there weren’t any punches thrown. But I still love that this escalated as far as it did.

The story, as near as I can make out (having not listened to the game):

–Josh Beckett walks people like a mad crazy walking machine. Sign number one that his control is not the best today.
–Josh Beckett hits Gary Sheffield somewhere nonvital but fairly high up (I think on the arm). Sign number two that his control is not the best today, and that he should, y’know, MAYBE STOP THINKING ABOUT PITCHING INSIDE, since it’s March and all.
–Josh Beckett hits Magglio Ordonez in the head.
–Everyone immediately has flashbacks to 2005.
–Magglio falls over and writhes for a bit, ‘though thankfully most of the blow is cushioned by his voluminous curls.
–Todd Jones comes in and stews lightly over Beckett’s lack of concern for humanity.
–Jonesy throws behind JD Drew which, OK, maybe not the best move, but it’s JD FREAKIN’ DREW. Even Boston fans are kind of wishing he’d gotten plunked.
–Jonesy gets ejected.
–Jim Leyland comes out to make the pitching change. Now, judging from some photos, it looks like Jonesy and Red Sox third base coach DeMarlo Hale were “exchanging information” before Leyland got onto the field (I would assume DeMarlo objected to Jones’ retaliatory instincts; honestly though, anyone who saw that business go down in ’05 should be aware that Tigers do not take headshots lightly), but most every writeup I’ve seen has described Leyland as a catalyst of the mess to follow.

–Regardless, Leyland comes on to remove Jonesy and somehow gets in the middle of a screaming match with DeMarlo Hale.
–Both benches clear.
–Everyone stands around squealing at each other, because it’s March and nobody wants to get Kyle Farnsworthed out there.
–Umpires dramatically restrain Leyland from going after DeMarlo and, who knows, kicking him in the shins with his cleats or something.
–Somewhere in all this, Leyland is ejected.
–At some point in the game, Beckett injures his jaw (!) by colliding with Sheffield at home plate (!!). I have no idea how this happened or when in this timeline it did, but I think it’s worth throwing in there.
–Near the end of the game, Travis Hughes hits Chris Shelton with a pitch. No one cares, because who the bollocks is Travis Hughes?

The moral of the story, as ever, is simple:

Don’t mess with Jim freakin’ Leyland, yo. He will bust your business up.

bask in past glory

As we all stew lightly over yesterday’s loss to the Royals, I just want to remind you guys that exactly one year ago today, something magical happened. Something beautiful.

Something you need to relive to mark the occasion.

I’d forgotten I had taken all those screenshots. Gosh, lemme tell you, even a full year later it still brings a tear of joy and pride to my eye and a rush of warmth to my stony little heart.

Of course we all remember the Piledrive, but I’d forgotten just how utterly furious Bondo was, and how many other people got involved. Jose Lima! Maggs wading into the top of the pile!

For more “wow lookit what I was sayin’ a year ago” madness, check this post out. It was from after I had watched the All Star Futures Game. Point of interest? That was the game that both Zumaya and Verlander pitched in.

And check out the graphic I made for it. “Ha ha, wouldn’t it be neat if Zoom and V were both up with the big squad in ’06? Won’t happen, but here is a crappy Photoshopped image displaying how cool I feel it might be!” There weren’t even any good photos of Zoom in a Tigers uniform back then; the image of him there was some other uni that I Photoshopped into a Detroit one.

Ah, how the seasons do fly.

Kirk Gibson is my hero.

This does not require additional comment.

Even as a former football player, Tigers hitting coach Kirk Gibson wouldn’t grade Farnsworth’s take-down of Affeldt. But he did get a kick out of how manager Alan Trammell waded into the melee as a peacekeeper, only to get pushed around and slapped the way Sparky Anderson did during an infamous 1982 brawl against the Twins.

“We made so much fun of Sparky back then,” Gibson said. “We’d tell him ‘just stay out of it’ — but there was Tram in this one, he was up, he was down, he lost his glasses, he got spiked on the head. I say this knowing he’s OK, but that was my favorite part.”
Detroit News

*insert violent giggling here*

We don’t keep these claws retracted.

Last night the Tigers lost to the Royals 5-0, which is a pretty damn disgusting score, considering the Royals pitching. We were fielding a team without Pudge or DaMeat or Plonkers in the lineup, so I suppose one could say there was at least some small measure of explanation, but it really is just inexcusable for even our backups to fail to get anything going against KC. We were putting a lineup with three over-.300 batters (Guillen, Rondell, and Shelton) on the field; they had one (Sweeney). Our starting pitcher has a 4.20 ERA; theirs has a 4.33 ERA. We didn’t run out a single reliever with an ERA over 3.00; they had Leo Nunez’ 6.34 ERA cavorting on the mound for two innings. They might actually be worse at taking a base on balls than we are.

No excuse.

Which is why, of course, I just want to talk about the brawl.

For those who missed it, here’s a quick summary of how it went down:

— Runelvys Hernandez, from here on out referred to as ‘Runny Elves’, hits both Inge and Big Red in the first inning.

— Exceptional Mental Makeup Mike hits a Royal, I think maybe DeJesus, in the second. The umpire issues a warning to everyone.

— Runny Elves throws a pitch in the bottom of the 6th that grazes the toe of Carlos Guillen. Carlos tosses down his bat, takes off his helmet, and steps off to head to first base.

— The home plate umpire points Carlos back into the box, insisting that he had not been touched by the pitch. Carlos is upset, Tram comes out to briefly discuss it, but in the end Carlos puts his helmet back on and goes back to bat again, probably muttering mutinously to himself.

— The next pitch from Runny Elves hits Carlos in the head. Thankfully, on the helmet, although it made a very worrying *crack* noise. Carlos goes down but pops right back up, furious. He heads in the general direction of the mound, spitting mad and vaguely restrained by the home plate umpire and the Royals catcher John Buck who, it must be said, was smirking in a bored fashion while Carlos made his original “that hit me in the foot you imbeciles!” appeal. Whatever, John Buck. Whatever.

— Runny Elves comes down off the mound to taunt Carlos some more, further infuriating all the Tigers, who at this point are pouring off the bench and streaming out of the bullpens in the outfield.

— There’s a good deal of shoving and shouting and Jose Lima almost immediately gets ahold of Carlos and shunts him off towards the back of all the action. Throughout almost the entire rest of the brawl Lima has at least one hand gripping Carlos’ jersey and was absolutely instrumental in keeping Carlos away from the fracas. It really looked like Lima cared a great deal about Carlos not getting hurt or doing anything rash, which is interesting, because Lima used to be a Tiger, but so far as I can tell he has never been on a team with Carlos, nor are they countrymen or anything like that (Lima is Dominican; Carlos is Venezuelan).

–My thought process is something like this: Jose Lima looks fantastic with the bleached hair and the sunglasses. Fantastic.

— Bonderman is the most furious I have ever seen him, and Juan Samuel has to exert all of his power to keep his arms around Bondo’s chest so that Bondo won’t charge off and beat the shit out of someone. Bondo is really struggling to get free, he’s got his heart set on pounding Runny Elves into smithereens. As Bondo is usually somewhat less excitable than a dead carp, this is truly majestic to see.

— Things seem to be settling down. Lima and Mike Sweeney are talking Carlos down, Lima still keeping a hand on Carlos at all times. Bondo is sort of corralled by DaMeat, who seems mostly amused by the entire proceeding. Runny Elves is talking to a big group of Royals and, oddly, Pudge. You can’t really see it from the photo above, but that’s Pudge talking to Runny Elves; he’s mostly obscured behind Leo Nunez. Pudge at this point has his jersey entirely untucked from his belt, so it looks like he’s wearing a nightgown, but I’ve no idea how it happened.

— Runny Elves, in the course of being escorted from the field, says something to Carlos and gestures very distinctly and rudely at him. Carlos explodes again, everyone gets all agitated and worked up. Here’s where it gets fun.

— There’s a huge group of players standing around on the field. At the edge of it, on the left, you can see The Farns straining forward, restrained by bullpen bench coach Lance Parrish. Parrish is not a small man, but he doesn’t really stand a chance, because a second later The Farns breaks free of his grasp. I’m trying to think of people who would stand a good chance of successfully holding The Farns back if he really wanted to break free; there are probably a few, but the names are escaping me. Franklyn German, maybe.

— The Farns runs all the way around the edge of the big group, to the opposite side, with Parrish trailing after him the entire way, probably shouting something along the lines of, “No Kyle! Don’t do it!” The Farns slows for a second, then charges Jeremy Affeldt, LIFTS HIM CLEAR OFF HIS FEET, and PILEDRIVES HIM INTO THE GROUND. I don’t know why he went after Affeldt, no one seems to know… Affeldt denies that he said anything, and The Farns has yet to comment on the event. But common sense would lead you to believe that Affeldt said something, because it wouldn’t make much sense for The Farns to haul off and flatten him for no reason when there were plenty of others Royals closer to his original position.

— My thought process is going something like this: a) OMG THE FARNS THE FARNS THE FARNS! b) Ha ha look at that Royal go down! c) Oh dear, his hot little ass is SO suspended. d) Wow, we went from having 3 viable closers (Urbina, Percy, The Farns) to having none at all (Urbina traded away, Percy injured perhaps irreparably, The Farns surely suspended at some point in the near future).

— A huge group of guys pile on top of The Farns, Affeldt, and Parrish. If you look in the very middle there, you can see a white-suited figure with a number 30 on his back, climbing onto the top of the pile, where he immediately began trying to pry apart whatever players were underneath him. That’s Magglio Ordonez. At this point my eyes are streaming with tears of hilarity and joy.

— My thought process is something like this: No Magglio, your hernia! Think of your hernia, Magglio!!

— The pile is prised apart. There’s a photo going around of Pudge seemingly strangling David DeJesus, but he’s really just pulling him out of the pile. The Farns is ushered out by Matt Stairs, who wraps an arm around The Farns’ waist to grab the back of his jersey. The top of Stairs’ head appears to come up to The Farns’ hip. This combination of Royal and Tiger at least makes some sense, as they were teammates on the Cubs in 2001. The Farns pauses to pant a little and try to restore order to his jersey, which is gapping open to reveal his black underarmor. You probably don’t really want to know my thought process here.

— When The Farns battle began, Bondo had to be restrained by DaMeat, Craig Monroe, and a couple of other Tigers. As things are calming down, he is very firmly held back by Gibby, who holds on like he’s under direct orders to do so. He probably is. I love how the responsibility of babysitting Bondo has been passed around the team– he started out with Juan Samuel, who passed him off to DaMeat, who got some reinforcements and then passed him off to Gibby.

— As the second conflagration is winding down, a third nearly ignites when Alberto Castillo inexplicably tries to start something with Lance Parrish. Castillo claims he was trying to talk to Carlos at the time; this may have caused Lance to dash in and get all “stay away from my player, bitch!” but I’m not really sure what was going on here. This is nipped in the bud by the umpires, who grab Castillo and shove him towards the dugout.

— Runny Elves, Castillo, and Emil Brown are ejected for the Royals, along with manager Buddy Bell. Your guess about what Brown did is as good as mine. The Farns is obviously ejected, along with Bondo, who didn’t seem to throw any actual punches but certainly not from lack of trying. Carlos is also ejected, because I guess he’s got no right to get fed up after being beaned in the head.

Now, here’s what Tigers had to say about Runny Elves throwing at Carlos’ head.

“He just threw that ball right at Carlos Guillen’s head,” Pudge Rodriguez said. “Then he charged at Carlos. It wasn’t right. He did a wrong thing.”

“You don’t miss like that on a lefty,” [Vance] Wilson said. “He’s not a guy who pitches in. He’s not a power guy. It’s bush league. The guy showed his act out there. Anyone that intentionally does something like that is going to deny it. He’s going to protect himself. He can deny it all he wants. That guy pitches down in the zone. He’s not a power guy. If he’s trying to knock a guy back, you don’t do it that high. We saw what happened.”

“I think that’s absolutely wrong, throwing at somebody’s head,” Detroit pitcher Jeremy Bonderman said. “If I hit somebody in the head, I expect someone to do the same thing. You stand up for your teammates because you can end a guy’s career throwing at somebody’s head. He might say he did it on accident, but he still did it. In my opinion, it was totally intentional and you just don’t throw at somebody’s head.”
ESPN game recap

“I don’t really care,” [Brandon Inge] said. “I don’t care if he meant to or not. He’s a guy who’s buzzed my tower before. You can hit me all day along if you keep it below my shoulders. I won’t say a word. Above the shoulders, we’re going to have words, something is going to happen. We’re going to fight. That’s just the way it works in baseball.”

“I have no problem with guys coming inside, brushing guys back, moving our feet, That’s the game of baseball,” [Craig] Monroe said. “But when you start playing with people’s lives, throwing at their heads, throwing 90-some miles per hour, it’s man to man. That’s no accident.”

Runny Elves says that the pitch was not intentional, but of course he says that– if he admitted to an intentional pitch to the head, he’d be suspended for sure and for a good long time. It didn’t really look like retaliation for the earlier beanball, since those happened in the first and second innings, and this was the sixth. It may have been because Runny was annoyed with Carlos for claiming that the previous pitch had hit him and for stepping out to take first base. In any event, if Runny was looking to hit Carlos he should have done it in the leg or the side, not the head. You don’t ever, ever throw at a guy’s head, and you especially don’t throw at a guy’s head and then proceed to taunt him.

Here’s Jose Lima’s explanation of why he was restraining Carlos so assiduously the entire time.

“When I saw the [fracas] I wanted to jump in but I saw Guillen with his helmet and the crowd right there. I told him, ‘1. If you’re going to fight, you’re going to fight me.’ And ‘2. You just came out of knee surgery. Think about your kids. Don’t go out there and jeopardize your career,'” Lima said.
official MLB Royals recap

Like I said before, there wasn’t really any reason for Lima to know Guillen all that well, so this is pretty nice of him. Thumbs up for Lima Time.

Here’s what people had to say about the whole Farnsworth bit.

“I saw some sucker punches,” the Tigers’ Vance Wilson said. “One of their guys just jumped on the pile and started punching.”

Said umpire Dana DeMuth: “There were probably 10 guys in the pile, but all you could see were butts and cleats.”

“We call him [Farnsworth] Superman,” Monroe said. “They’re barking up the wrong tree with him, I can tell you that.”

“That’s the reason why you don’t talk [trash] during a pileup,” Dmitri Young said. “[Affeldt] opened his mouth.”
official MLB Tigers recap

“I was standing there telling [Affeldt] to shut up,” Walker said. “He kept on pestering Farnsworth, pointing his finger and provoking him. He picked the wrong guy. He got bull-rushed.”

Not only did Walker warn Affeldt, but Brandon Inge said Farnsworth himself warned Affeldt three times before going after him.
official MLB Tigers news

“We tried to stop him,” said umpire Dana DeMuth, “and he went around the end and did the tackle.”

“You knew when the big boy got there it was gonna be ON!” -Rod Allen

And here’s what the tacklee, Affeldt, has to say about the matter.

“He was just seeing red, I guess,” Affeldt said.

“The first time we got in a pile, I was bumped by him a little from behind and I just turned to him and said, ‘Hey, hey, hey, take it easy,’ and I just kind of put my hand on his chest and he pushed me a little bit and I pushed him back just to say, ‘Hey, take it easy,'” Affeldt said.

“He asked me if I wanted to fight and I said, ‘No.’ I wasn’t in any mood to fight, really.”

At one point, Affeldt had his neck pinned between Buck and Tigers coach Lance Parrish, who were grappling on top of him. The Tigers’ Magglio Ordonez helpfully pulled Affeldt away.

“And I took a cleat in the mouth just because Magglio was pulling me out,” Affeldt said.
official MLB Royals recap

For one thing, Lance Parrish and John Buck (the Royals catcher) were grappling on the top of the pile? Oh, my god. Oh, happy day! Lance, you rock.

Secondly, OK, Jeremy, whatever you say. Suuuuuure.

No one was seriously injured, although Carlos is still headachey, apparently can’t remember much about the whole thing, and was, according to Lima and Castillo, out of it even when they were trying to hold him back. Tram took a cleat to the thumb, Jamie Walker took a cleat to the leg, and Gator lost a shoe and had his foot stepped on by someone in cleats, which certainly sounds painful, but he says he’s going to try to pitch his next start just the same.

A beautiful, beautiful brawl, and it’s a pity The Farns will almost certainly be suspended. It’s also a pity that it can’t have resulted in some wins, because I just noticed that Chris Spurling laid a small but perfectly formed egg on the mound in Chicago to completely waste Douglass’ good outing and a pretty good outing by the bats and, basically, argh.

I’m going to go watch video of The Farns tackling Affeldt again, because that’s much nicer to look at and think about than this ridiculous losing business.


Rod Allen: Oh you don’t mess with Farnsworth, he ain’t no joke.
Mario Impemba: Watch this takedown, down goes Affeldt!

More later. For right now, I have tears in my eyes, this is so majestic.