Last Friday night, I was earnestly paying attention to a guy in a crowded bar who was telling me how crowded this bar happened to be when my eye caught a glimpse of one of the many televisions in this particular drinking establishment, prompting me to tell this new acquaintance to "shut up for a second." I then pointed to the television where I could see about 50 men, half wearing the orange and black of the San Francisco Giants and the others being members of the Philadelphia Phillies, pushing and shoving each other. Well, some of them were pushing and shoving, others (like the presumably quite stoned Tim Lincecum) were merely milling around the fringes of the pack trying to look involved while actually wanting nothing to do with the whole affair.
The brawl wasn't really much of a brawl and probably wouldn't have even turned into the disappointing showing of fisticuffs it ended up being had it not been for Giants' catcher, Eli Whiteside, inexplicably performing a weak-ass double-leg takedown of Philly Placido Polanco. But, as is protocol, both benches emptied and all hell broke loose for five minutes, after which the umpire dramatically tossed a few players from the game.
I will admit it. I don't mind the occasional baseball brawl. I don't endorse violence, for the most part, but a brawl is a welcomed reminder that that these guys actually give a damn about this game. And they don't have to. They're rich as hell and rich people don't have to get in fights. Also, with 162 games in a season, do you really think these dudes really care about every one of these contests? But hey, if they care enough to fight, they might actually care enough to try to win.
This season has been especially punchy, with David Ortiz trying to take on the entirety of the Orioles and Jared Weaver landing himself on the bench for a week's worth of suspension for trying to remove the head of a Tigers' hitter with a high and tight heater. And the kids are getting in on the action, too! American Legion players (high school kids on summer vacation) in Sumter, South Carolina, went at it on Saturday. Both teams had to forfeit - and this was a tournament game.
But here's the thing, sports fans. There are several instances when baseball players have to fight each other. It's not like hockey in which players fight out of boredom. There are rules in baseball. Should a pitcher's teammate get drilled in the back, he is morally bound by the Baseballer's Oath he took upon putting on his first pair of cleats to plant a fastball into the ribs of the next batter he faces. Should a batter gallivant too colorfully around the bases after having hit a homerun, the pitcher is required to nail him the next time he comes to the plate. Other behavior that warrants a bean ball: Standing too close to the plate while a pitcher is warming up, stealing bases when your team is up by more than seven runs, stealing signs, wearing those sunglasses that flip up, being David Ortiz and, of course, bunting when the opposing pitcher has a no-hitter going.
I think these rules, and many other unspoken regulations in the sporting world, should apply to the daily lives of us non-professional athletes. If some jerkwad in the accounting department steals your turkey sandwich, I see no reason why we can't act like baseball players and toss a stapler at his back while he's hammering away on a spreadsheet or doing whatever the hell people at offices do. Then, of course, your department would have to all run into the lobby and pretend to be really pissed off, even though many of these guys and gals used to work together and don't want to fight.
It's unfortunate, but those are the rules.