A massive fight broke out yesterday between players from Canada and Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. With Canada up 9-3 in the ninth inning, tempers flared on the Mexico side when Canada’s catcher Chris Robinson bunted up the third-base line for a single to start the inning. Mexico evidently believed Canada was attempting to run up the score, something they were in fact trying to do.
The WBC is a little different from regular baseball in that the first round is a round robin tournament. Each team plays three games against the other three teams in their pool. The two teams with the best records moves on. In the case of a tie, the number of runs scored against an opponent can matter.
Running up the score is important if a team wants to advance to the next round. It can make a difference.
Either Mexico didn’t understand this or they just didn’t care. After Robinson took first base, Mexico’s third-baseman, Luis Cruz, gestured to pitcher Arnold Leon to hit the next batter, outfielder Rene Tosoni. It took three pitches, but Cruz plunked Tosoni in the back.
And then all Hell broke lose.
Benches cleared and punches were thrown. After the fracas was broken up and players returned to their respective benches, Mexico fans began throwing things at the Canada players. As anyone familiar with international soccer games between Mexico and USA, Mexico supporters are some of the classiest people in the world.
Canada went on to win the game, 10-3.
All said and done, I think this fight was good for the Word Baseball Classic. If nothing else, it shows players care about it. If the players care about it, then so can sports fans. If a professional baseball player is willing to punch someone in the face, it must be important.
Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images