Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bench Clearing Brawls

A completely unrelated news item got me thinking about this subject. The San Diego and Los Angeles police departments held a charity football game. The SDPD is so uneducated on the subject of crime (They think their jobs is primarily shooting unarmed citizens.) that they left the guns and badges in unattended duffel bags instead of the conveniently provided lockers where they could, you know, lock up their valuables.

That got me thinking about the worst bench clearing brawls in sports because....

A couple weeks ago New York first responders held a friendly hockey game to raise money for their widow's and children benefit funds. The friendly match became an all out blood match in the second period. In the tradition of omerta, neither side is talking and the available video doesn't show how it started. I'm guessing it was the cops because the NYPD was on a five game losing streak and aren't noted for gentlemanly behavior.

Worst Hockey Brawl Ever

It was not in the NHL nor even among professionals. The 1987 Junior World Championship held in Czechoslovakia saw Canada and the Soviet Union engage in a violent free for all. At the time the Canadian team was certain of getting a medal, probably gold, while the Soviet team was, embarrassingly, already eliminated from the medal round. According to Canadian sources, the Russians had been cheap shotting the Canucks all game and when one Canadian player fought back the Russians gang rushed him from the bench. However, the Canadian players had already had a pre-game brawl with the American team. The officials were so overwhelmed they gave up and left the ice mid way through the melee. Afterwards, the Communist Czech government sent armed soldiers to expel the Canadian team from the country.

Worst Baseball Fight
Baseball fights tend to be boring, usually just guys milling around trying to not injure their throwing hands. One exception was the San Diego Padres in Atlanta in 1984. The Atlanta pitcher, Pascual Perez, threw at the San Diego lead-off hitter with the very first pitch of the game. Perez had a reputation of a jerk who like throwing at people (and loved cocaine). When Perez came to bat the San Diego pitcher retaliated by throwing at him but missed. He tried, and missed, a second time. These first two tries resulted in your standard baseball bench clearing mill fest.

Finally, in the eight inning, relief pitcher Craig Lefferts managed to complete the retaliation by hitting Perez with a pitch. This time the benches cleared with violent intent. Players ran at each other throwing punches and gang tackling opponents. At one point Padre pinch hitter Champ Summers noticed that Perez was not on the field with his teammates but hiding in the Atlanta dugout. Summers ran for Perez but was stopped by an Atlanta player and several beer throwing fans. Order was finally restored. For half an inning. In the top of the ninth, Atlanta relief pitcher Donnie Moore threw at the first batter he faced and the benches cleared again for another WWE battle royal. Somehow, the game ended. Atlanta won the game; San Diego won the pennant.

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