The Beauty of Bench-Clearing Brawls

For the most part, mass brawls are often a bit hard to watch and the sooner they come to an end the better. There is one exception though, and that is when they take place on the sports field, mainly because everyone knows there is only so much they can get away with if they care at all about not being banned for life from the sport they play. So you are at liberty to encourage the unfolding melee to step it up a notch and get stuck in, safe in the knowledge that most of the punches being thrown are for the cameras.

No sport quite does a bench-clearing brawl like baseball though. It is part of the sport’s long list of unwritten rules that dictates should one of your team members become entangled in a fight, you drop everything you’re doing and follow the rest of your team into the trenches to fight. It’s this instinctive behavior that makes of the most popular sports in the USA.

Infographic credit: Betway

How are mass brawls started?

Well, you don’t have to try that hard to spark a row, in actual fact. Just put one foot wrong and a pitcher or batter will happily charge the wrongdoer and deliver a sporting uppercut on arrival. These things often escalate after repeated offenses but if you want to go from 0 to 100 in the blink of an eye, then flip your bat after hitting a home run. Even better, throw the ball at a batter’s head, that will have the opposition bench running at you at approximately the same speed at which Puma’s golden boy Usain Bolt runs the 100-metre sprint.

Lesser offenses that are likely to have someone warn you – one more of those and you will be collecting your teeth off the ground – include bunting to break up a perfect game, walking over the pitcher’s mound, and stealing a base late in a blowout win.

You may as well have just insulted the mothers of all the opposition players if you’re brave enough to do any of the above. A full list of the dos and don’ts are dissected in Betway’s article on the evolution of baseball’s unwritten rules; however, it must be pointed out, group fights seem to have been around since baseball started with possibly the only evolution being the numbers of players invited to join in.

Bench-clearing is part of baseball’s DNA

Major League Baseball makes no attempt to hide mass brawls in their sport and has even dedicated a piece on their official website to the notable brawls in baseball history. The standout incident being when Rangers took on the Blue Jays in 2015, where a powerful slide by Jose Bautista on Rougned Odor was followed up with Odor punching Bautista with a connection that Muhammad Ali would have been proud of.

It was enough for Bautista’s helmet and glasses to take off like a 747, which prompted many to ask whether the fight was acceptable and actually a bridge too far in the sport? As way of comparison, that type of offense in soccer would have a player banned for life.

In the end, MLB handed Odor an eight-game suspension and a fine of $5,000 after going all Mike Tyson on Bautista.

Nothing more than a slap on the wrist. It’s not like Odor was about to join a list of the top five prosecuted athletes in the history of sport. In fact, the police weren’t even interested in taking it further and it doesn’t seem like baseball’s disciplinary committee were too put out by Odor’s reaction.

Why we love baseball’s mass brawls

A bit of a scuffle never killed anyone and a release of pent up emotion is always quality viewing for any sports fan. No, the fact that mass brawls are still allowed in baseball is one of the last standing beacons of hope in a world where more rules and regulations are beginning to permeate most sports’ skin. Let the boys rumble and sort it out amongst themselves.

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