Look, last night’s to-do wasn’t in the upper echelon of basebrawls and might not even top Madison Bumgarner’s “Don’t look at me!” moment, but rather than rank the brawls, let’s compare the situation to one of the worst that’s ever happened: the Marichal-Roseboro brawl of 1965 (the 53rd anniversay is next Wednesday!).
Watch this MLB Network retrospective on the incident and notice how even though most people don’t think a player would attack another player with a bat in the 21st century — those were “different times”, I’m sure my strawman would say — they might be surprised to hear how the specious reasoning behind everyone’s actions back then sound a lot like the specious reasoning a baseball fan would hear today... almost as though the culture of baseball remains the same. Anyway, watch this:
Juan Marichal committed a crime. He attacked a man with a baseball bat. His defense at the time was:
“I was afraid he was going to hit me with his mask, so I hit him with my bat,” Marichal said in an apology issued the next day.
And to really drive home the point that Juan Marichal committed a crime,
Marichal was suspended for eight game days (10 games because of doubleheaders) and fined a then-record $1,750 (which translates to about $15,000 today). Roseboro would sue Marichal for $110,000 in damages, and the case was eventually settled with Roseboro receiving $7,500.
Maybe every fight just needs a Willie Mays, a player so powerful he can shut it down with a single action. Then again, let’s not forget that the Giants-Dodgers rivalry is replete with (metaphorical) fire and (actual) blood. Rivalries are fun. For some, that means every part of it is fun, and for others it means it’s all fun until someone gets hurt. Or, as Andrew McCutchen suggests, gets tired...
... so very tired.