Baseball's unwritten rules nearly spark fight between Braves, Rockies

What you see above is the somewhat tame ending to a spat that happened Thursday between the Colorado Rockies and Atlanta Braves. It was another instance where tempers flared in an MLB game because of baseball's unwritten rules and the game's internal code of revenge.

There was no brawl and no bat throwing, just a tit-for-tat that caused two pitchers and two coaches to get booted from the game. It could have been worse. Heck, it was one more hit batter away from turning into something a lot more ugly.

The fireworks likely started by accident, with a catcher getting knocked out of the game after a backswing struck him. They ended with a pitcher being ejected after hitting a batter, then getting high-fives from his teammates after the heave-ho.

Yep, it was another one of those days at the ballpark.

Here's the scene: It was the eighth inning and the Rockies pretty much had a victory in the bag thanks for an 8-3 lead. Colorado's Corey Dickerson was up facing David Carpenter of the Braves. At this point, it's easier to bullet point the hijinks:

Rockies pitcher Nick Masset was one of four ejections in a tension-filled game. (AP)
Rockies pitcher Nick Masset was one of four ejections in a tension-filled game. (AP)

• Braves catcher Gerald Laird was smacked in the face mask during Dickerson's backswing. This was two pitches after Laird was hit in the head by a foul ball. He fell to the ground, received care from his team and was eventually replaced by Evan Gattis.

• Dickerson was hit by Carpenter on the very next pitch. Subtle. People got mad. Carpenter was ejected. Rockies manager Walt Weiss came out of the dugout and he was tossed too.

• In the next inning, Rockies relief pitcher Nick Masset got the first two outs, then hit Gattis with a pitch. Masset was ejected, as was Rockies bench coach Tom Runnells.

• Gattis, to his credit, just put his head down and ran to first base like nothing happened. Masset acted surprised when he was tossed. Yeah, sure buddy, like you didn't see that coming. When Masset retuned to the dugout, he got high-fives from his teammates.

Of course, this being baseball, nobody was owning up to anything being intentional. Dickerson said his backswing hitting Laird wasn't intentional and we're inclined to believe that.

But the rest of it? We believe everything was an accident just like we believe Manny Machado's bat slipped out of his hands. [Note: sarcasm]. The high-fives were the most interesting part of this, mainly because we don't see much public celebration of retaliation pitches.

The Braves and Rockies don't play each other again this season, which is for the best. It wouldn't have taken too much more for this to turn into a benches-clearing situation. But, fact is, there wasn't much to actually fight about, because this was just an unfortunate injury that got blown out of proportion.

Instead of realizing that baseball's notion of avenging every perceived wrong didn't really apply here, the Braves and Rockies had to puff up their chests and bust out the machismo, which, bleh.

Here's a better idea: Simmer down, gents.

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Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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