Baseball has long been criticized for its lack of action in comparison to football, basketball and hockey, which are the other three main sports in America. However, baseball is the only sport in which you can see one team’s full 25-man roster and coaching staff fight another team’s full 25-man roster in the middle of the diamond. The most recent MLB brawl occurred July 31st between the Pirates and the Reds; Where does this fight rank on our list of the top MLB brawls of this decade?
1. Blue Jays at Rangers (2016)
These two teams originally developed beef during the 2015 ALDS where Toronto’s Jose Bautista hit a clutch home run and then flipped his bat in Game 5. The Rangers would take exception to Bautista’s actions in 2016. The May 15th brawl in Arlington was initiated by Texas RHP Matt Bush drilling Bautista in the ribs. Later in the inning, Bautista slid into the legs of Rangers 2B Rougned Odor. Odor then looked at Bautista, shoved him and then socked him in the face with one of the most pure punches that you will ever see. Bautista’s helmet and sunglasses were knocked off and the two teams ran from their dugout and engaged in a massive shoving match, led by Toronto’s Kevin Pillar and Josh Donaldson, that extended into the outfield.
2. Yankees at Tigers (2017)
This August 24th day game was filled with beanings on both sides and ultimately developed into a benches-clearing brawl. The fight began when the Tigers Miguel Cabrera engaged in a heated conversation with the Yankees catcher Austin Romine while the Yankees were finishing a pitching change. Romine took off his mask and Cabrerea shoved him in the chest before squaring up and landing a left hook on Romine. The two exchanged more punches as they fell to the ground in front of home plate. The teams rushed the field to break up the fight but the Yankees Gary Sanchez was caught sucker-punching a Tigers player at the bottom of the pile. However, this brawl will forever be remembered for the Yankees relief pitcher David Robertson rushing in from the bullpen in full-sprint. Robertson reached home plate way before his other bullpen mates and inspired plenty of memes.
3. Nationals at Giants (2017)
In the 2014 NLDS, Giants reliever Hunter Strickland was the pitcher who gave up some prodigious bombs off the bat of Bryce Harper. Although that playoff series was three years in the past and won by the Giants, Strickland chose to get revenge in his own way. He drilled Harper with the bases empty on a 2-0 count. Harper took exception and charged the mound. Harper tried to first throw his helmet at Strickland but it went awry. Strickland and Harper each throw at least two punches and it appeared both players landed one of them. The two teams began shoving as Giants pitcher Jeff Samardzija, a former college football player, practically trucked his way through the pile. While this fight didn’t last as long as some of the other brawls from this decade, a brawl that features Bryce Harper has to make the list.
4. Nationals at Marlins (2010)
Nationals OF Nyjer Morgan was practically blackballed from baseball by the middle of the decade but he left his mark on the sport for his hot-head reputation. That reputation culminated into a pretty wild brawl in 2010 after the Marlins Chris Volstad threw behind Morgan. Morgan threw his bat to the side, charged the mound, fired a left hook on Volstad and was promptly pummeled by the Marlins entire team. The Marlins 1B Gaby Sanchez initially clotheslined Morgan and Volstad threw some punches before the teams congregated in the middle of the field. There was plenty of shoving and plenty of words exchanged. In the end, Morgan was walked off the field with his shirt ripped open, yelling and gesturing at the crowd that had been showering him with massive boo’s.
5. Pirates at Reds (2019)
This may be a case of recency bias but this was a rare type of baseball fight because you never see a pitcher charge the opposing teams dugout and take on their whole team. Reds pitcher Amir Garrett had been on the receiving end of chirping from the Pirates dugout. During a mound visit, Garrett proceeded to raise his arms and yell at the Pirates dugout before he raced over there full-speed and threw a massive punch. The Pirates and the Reds met in front of the third base dugout and engaged in a lot of shoving. Reds manager David Bell, who had been ejected earlier, illegally raced back onto the field to shove Pirates manager Clint Hurdle before a different Pirates coach pinned Bell to the ground. Additionally, moments after a three-team trade was completed in which Reds outfielder Yasiel Puig was traded, Puig engaged in the brawl and charged towards Pirates reliever Kyle Crick. Ultimately, the two teams had a longer-than-normal shoving match before order was restored.