Some say spring starts with the vernal equinox, or maybe the first robin of the year, or maybe even Opening Day. Ninja please. Nothing says spring has sprung until baseball players start fighting like schoolgirls near the pitcher’s mound.
The Angels and Red Sox were eager to play that part today, as a Josh Beckett pitch over Bobby Abreu’s head set off a weird quasi-melee that eventually led to four ejections… none of whom were Beckett or Abreu. In fact, the main offender was, for some reason, Torii Hunter.
The incident in question was touched off by a strange decision by Beckett. As the umpire called time, Beckett was already into his windup. Upon seeing the play was dead, Beckett decided to complete his pitch, except two feet over Abreu’s head as Abreu stepped out of the batter’s box. What ensued was an exercise in forced, half-hearted outrage that should embarrass baseball purists nationwide. FIGHT LIKE YOU MEAN IT!
Abreu and Beckett didn’t look like they were going to do much other than yap until people started acting like they had to separate them, so then they decided to act like they needed to be separated. Benches cleared, but nobody did anything, because staring is the new punching or something. As the nonfight wound down, Beckett ran his mouth at Angels manager Mike Scioscia, and here we went again.
This time there were pushes (gasp!) and shoves (GASP!) and raised voices (Quelle horreur! /faints). Torii Hunter lost his temper the worse, presumably because somebody told him something like “you played in the Metrodome and you probably liked it.” Fightin’ words, man. Hunter got canned, as did hitting coach Mickey Hatcher and relief pitcher Justin Speier.
“But that’s only three players,” the math wizards exclaim. Sure enough, Scioscia wasn’t done with the umpires; more unsportsmanlike yapping from the dugout led to his dismissal in the next half-inning. Swear words: they’re no fun for anyone.
Some would say the Angels’ win (5-4, clinched when J.D. Drew left his bat on his shoulder for all three strikes) meant that they got the last laugh. No. There are no laughers or winners today, just dozens of grown men who would get knocked out by Mulletboxer.