August 04, 2008
Pardon me if I can barely muster a shrug over the Royals-White Sox "fight" at Kauffman Stadium on Sunday. Last I checked, a "brawl" usually involved things like "punches," "haymakers" and "fist sandwiches" being thrown. I also believe a baseball fight between opponents is supposed to look a little something like a scene from Carolina training camp.
But when the Royals' Miguel Olivo dropped his bat and reached the mound after getting plunked by Sox pitcher D.J. Carrasco in the fifth inning, he looked just the drunk kid in the dorm who just pulled the fire alarm ... instantly apologetic and immediately more sober.
While I don't condone fighting in baseball, I also believe that if you're going to charge the pitcher, you might as well thrown one punch, not rush to someone's feet like when my dog spots someone eating a sandwich. Instead, Olivo and Carrasco ended up making Derrek Lee and Chris Young look like Ali-Frazier. What the heck was the point?
Thankfully, at least one thing came of the "scrape" that my colleague Jeff Passan accurately described as a "square dance" and that was Ozzie Guillen's confession to having intentionally ordering beanings of players in the past (even though he says that wasn't the case with Olivo.)
“You think I’m going to bring somebody in to hit somebody and they’re going to throw a fastball 82 (mph) at the hands?” Guillen said. “I’m going to bring in my best guy and make sure he gets it done. That’s Major League Baseball. That’s baseball. That’s the baseball I grew up with. Not the (expletive) they play right now.”
As Passan notes, acknowledging the existence of one of baseball's biggest "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" "traditions" is probably going to earn Guillen a suspension in the thick of the AL Central race that's going to slip away from the Sox if they're not careful. Silly move on Ozzie's part, considering the whole thing could've just been written off as a simple shoving match.