Who needs the Red Sox and Yankees?
We just witnessed a benches-clearing brawl in the sixth inning of tonight’s game between the Phillies and Giants. Check out the video footage here.
It all started when Shane Victorino was hit in the back by a pitch from Giants right-hander Ramon Ramirez. Victorino began to gesture and walk toward the mound, but he was quickly intercepted by home plate umpire Mike Muchlinski. By this time, both dugouts and bullpens had emptied and were running toward the field. However, the brawl didn’t really begin in earnest until Eli Whiteside attempted to tackle Placido Polanco, who came running in from first base.
There was all sorts of pushing and shoving and mini-wrestling matches going on, but just when it looked like things were about to calm down, Victorino escaped from Phillies hitting coach Greg Gross and tackled Giants hitting coach Hensley “Bam-Bam” Meulens. Huh? He had it coming, apparently.
Victorino, Ramirez and Whiteside were all given the boot and we’ll likely see numerous fines and suspensions once MLB reviews the footage of the incident.
All in all, I give this this skirmish an eight out of 10 for pure entertainment. Whiteside’s tackling skills? Maybe good enough to make the 49ers.
On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.
Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”
Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”
Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.