This weekend, for the first time in a long while, I found myself looking up a baseball highlight. No, it wasn’t a homerun, a diving catch, or a double play. I wanted to see the fight! The Seattle Mariners and the LA Angels cleared the benches and brawled in the opening of the 2nd inning. In this article, I’m going to give a recap of all the things I’ve seen reported to try to get an accurate timeline of what led up to the fight that got 6 players and both team’s managers ejected.
It seems like the animosity may have begun the night before, when an errant pitch by Mariner’s pitcher Erik Swanson flew near the head of Angels outfielder Mike Trout. Mike Trout said later that “Pitchers should know where to hit batters if it comes to that.” Not only implying that it was an intentional near headshot (an allegation that Erik Swanson denied, saying “the pitch just got away from him”), but also setting the stage for the game the next day…
The next day, something unusual happened. The Angels, at the last moment, decided to start a pitcher who had never started before, and had never pitched more than 3 innings in a row, Andrew Wantz. Analysts assumed it would be a quick couple innings before they relieved him and put in their superior option, Jose Suarez.
But it soon appeared, at least to the Mariners, that Wantz wasn’t put in just to get some reps… The Angels had started Wantz as a hitman.
In the first inning, Wantz threw a ball right past the head of Mariner’s rookie Julio Rodriguez. At that point, both dugouts were already starting to get fired up. The umpire can already be seen staring down both bullpens.
Then in the beginning of the second inning, Wantz threw another pitch, this time hitting Jesse Winker in the thigh. As Jesse started to take his base, (with the umpire stepping up to try to prevent anything from escalating) it looked like Angel’s Manager Phil Nevin was yelling at him because Winker’s attention sharply turned towards Nevin..
That was the moment it all went downhill.
Winker couldn’t be held back as he approached the opposing team. I couldn’t find out what was said to him, or what he was saying back, but the second he got close it looked like both sides just started going at it. Weirdly enough, it looked like the Angels had already cleared their benches and were on the field before Winker even made it over there. But it wasn’t long after the fight had started that a wave of blue from the Mariner’s had made it over there as well.
Things get muddy from there, but eventually everyone is separated. Then out of nowhere, after the brawl had been quelled, Raisel Iglesias of the Angels threw an entire case of sunflower seeds onto the field, shotput style. The throw had good distance, but maybe not as far as I'd expect a professional athlete to throw a tray of snacks. I don’t know, they don't really train for that in spring training.
I do agree with the people that say “This stuff should never happen in baseball” but also… Come on! It was pretty entertaining, no one was really hurt, and now we have an interesting storyline for the rest of the season! Next time the 2 teams play each other is early August. In my opinion that’s a must watch game!