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Video: Brawl in minors results in 6 suspensions, 51 fines

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

One day after a bench-clearing incident quickly calmed down with only one ejection and no punches being thrown, the Spokane Indians and Vancouver Canadians of the Class A Northwest League were back on the field Monday afternoon for the final game of their wrap-around weekend series.

It didn't take long for tensions to rise again.

In the bottom of the third inning, Spokane's Rougned Odor slid aggressively into second base while breaking up a double play. Vancouver shortstop Shane Optiz took offense to the slide, made a comment to Odor (possibly about his odor) and away went the two middle infielders with funny names.

There was no chance for umpires or managers to diffuse the quickly advancing altercation. Within seconds, everybody wearing a uniform got involved in a scrum that included shoves, punches, kicks, forearm-shivers — you name it — being thrown back and forth. No holds were barred. You may even see a pile-driver executed in there somewhere if you look close enough.

According to reports, six players involved in the fight were suspended. Spokane pitcher Matt West received six games for his role, which was the heaviest punishment doled out. In addition, league president Bob Richmond fined 51 players. It was described as a league record, which probably would have gone without saying.

"Virtually everyone got dinged for something," said Richmond.

Feeling bad about their part in the brawl, the Indians, who are an affiliate of the Texas Rangers, issued an apology immediately following the game Monday: {YSP:MORE}

"The Spokane Indians organization apologizes to their fans for the altercation between the Spokane and Vancouver players that occurred during the third inning of today's game. The Indians organization does not in any way condone the actions of the players during this incident. The Northwest League is currently in the process of reviewing the game, and numerous suspensions are likely to be handed out. The Spokane Indians and Texas Rangers, the Indians major league affiliate, are both fully cooperating with Northwest League officials."

On Tuesday, the league announced plans to use the fine money to launch the Bob Robertson Sportsmanship Award to honor local youth baseball teams that exemplify a mannerly ethic. So it's commendable they're working quickly to turn this negative into something positive for their organization and for the local community.

Oh, and just in case you're wondering, the two teams meet again at Vancouver (which is a Toronto Blue Jays affiliate) on Aug. 2.

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