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David Brown

Mariners fight each other in dugout after manager removes Figgins

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Despite their losing ways, the dysfunctional Seattle Mariners continue to be unintentionally entertaining.

After manager Don Wakamatsu benched infielder Chone Figgins(notes) for impersonating a statue on defense, a fight broke out in the Mariners dugout. Not with the opponent, the Boston Red Sox. Just among the Mariners.

Figgins had to be restrained from going after his own manager; Jose Lopez(notes) had to be restrained after trying to play peacemaker; Russell Branyan(notes) was mixed up in it, too, just trying to help. Milton Bradley(notes) was good.

[Photos: Latest images of MLB's Mariners]

Most fans at Safeco Field didn't seem to know what happened until Josh Wilson(notes) pinch hit for Figgins in the bottom of the fifth.

The Red Sox won 2-1 as the M's dropped a season-low 23 games under .500. But that's almost incidental.

Watch the Mariners play bad, then fight each other

A season's worth of frustration — from the Ken Griffey Jr.(notes) debacle, to the Mike Sweeney(notes) debacle, to the Bradley debacle, and all the rest — came to a boil Friday night in Seattle.

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Here's an explanation from the Associated Press of why Wakamatsu (right) got upset at Figgins:

Figgins, who's been struggling mightily all season in the first year of a $36 million, free-agent contract, was standing near second base as Boston's Mike Cameron(notes) was pulling into second on a double into the left-field corner leading off the fifth.

Figgins inexplicably let the throw from Michael Saunders(notes), which sailed over cutoff man Jack Wilson(notes), bounce a few feet to his left and then dribble past the bag without moving toward it. Cameron alertly went to third on another boneheaded play by the Mariners in a week full of them.

"I didn't think there was much effort in that backup, and I made the decision to take him out of the ballgame," Wakamatsu said.

For $36 million, what do you want Figgins to do — dive for it? Seriously, Saunders' throw was so bad, Figgins probably couldn't have caught it even if he wanted to. (He did want to, right?)

Figgins smartly stayed in the clubhouse for the game but, also smartly, left the building before reporters could corner him. That'll come soon enough.

Asked why he benched Figgins then and not numerous other Mariners for their many mental mistakes and lack of effort in recent weeks, Wakamatsu said Figgins' laziness "was cut-and-dry."

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The Mariners are beyond help. But hey, this whole "bickering in the dugout" meme has become quite fashionable this season, you know?

And I seem to recall another baseball intra-team fight where the opponent happened to be the Red Sox.

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