With another loss today, the Blue Jays chances of making the playoffs is getting slimmer and slimmer. For Jays fans who have only been on the bandwagon since 2015, it’s gotta be disappointing. For folks like me who have followed the team (with varying degrees of closeness) for years, it’s a familiar feeling. I mean, we all heard it every time it came up back in 2015: the Jays were in the playoffs for the first time in 22 years.
So what do you do when your hopes for your team to go deep are fading? Well, you still watch your team, but you also keep an eye on what’s going on elsewhere in the league. And if you paid any attention to this afternoon’s game between the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers, you witnessed a pretty explosive game.
Now I get that baseball is a sport that’s steeped in tradition, and that there are many “unwritten rules” in the game. I get, for the most part, why they are the way they are, but I think the ol’ “hit that batter because he did something I didn’t like a while ago” take on things is pretty stupid. Best example: When Bryce Harper got beaned by Hunter Strickland earlier this season, retaliation for a home run Harper hit off Strickland in the 2014 playoffs – in a series that Strickland’s Giants won, in a year where they went on to win the World Series. Perhaps you remember seeing the video or some memes that came of that awful helmet toss:
I use that example, because the phrase “unwritten rules of baseball” always gets thrown around after a hit by pitch.
Something similar happened in this afternoon’s Tigers-Yanks game. Here’s sort of a breakdown of what happened:
In the 4th inning, Gary Sanchez hit his 27th dinger of the season:
In his next at bat in the 5th, he was hit by a pitch from Michael Fulmer:
Often, if the umpires feel that a batter was intentionally hit, he will issue a warning to the pitcher and both benches. This warning signifies that the umps will be watching for this behaviour and if any other batters get plunked, the pitcher and his manager are thrown out of the game. No warning was issued after Sanchez was hit by the pitch.
In the 6th inning, Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera was at bat when Yankees pitcher Tommy Kahnle threw a pitch behind his back – a move that’s generally frowned upon. Kahnle was ejected immediately, and Yankees manager Joe Girardi was tossed after leaving the dugout to argue:
What happened next was was where the fireworks started. Cabrera, still at bat, was having a conversation with Yankees catcher Austin Romine, and things got heated as Romine removed his mask. I’ll let the videos do the talking. Here’s two separate videos (from each team’s broadcast) showing different angles of what went down:
And here’s a fantastic angle from behind the plate:
Okay, so the benches cleared, a couple of guys got clobbered, Cabrera and Romine were both tossed from the game… That should all be worked out of their system now, right?
Well, not quite.
Fast forward to the 7th inning. Dellin Betances was on the plate for the Yankees with catcher James McCann at the plate when this happened:
Yep, a 98 MPH fastball right to the helmet. You know the benches are gonna clear anytime something like that happens. The umpires didn’t initially eject him, as they did not believe the pitch to be intentional, but Betances and bench coach Rob Thompson (managing in Girardi’s place after he was thrown out) wound up both being ejected:
At this point, it seemed like both teams wanted to have the last laugh. In the 8th inning, Tigers pitcher Alex Wilson drilled Todd Frazier in the leg with some 95-MPH heat.
And of course, the benches cleared for a THIRD time. At some point, Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner got pretty aggressive, throwing punches in the middle of the brawl. At the end, Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias can be seen holding his head. Wilson and Tigers manager Brad Ausmus were both tossed from the game after that.
One thing that a few folks noticed was a couple cheap shots pulled off by Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, who was caught on camera punching a couple guys while they were down.
Here’s Sanchez sucker-punching Cabrera:
Gary Sanchez sucker punch on Cabrera pic.twitter.com/bJEAIWF7HW
— Red Sox Stats (@redsoxstats) August 24, 2017
… And another one later, on Nick Castellanos:
Gary Sanchez sucker punch #2 pic.twitter.com/yYvqgxKI40
— Red Sox Stats (@redsoxstats) August 24, 2017
It’s safe to assume that Gary Sanchez will get a suspension for those – but we’ll have to wait and see. As a Jays fan, I’m just happy to see the Yankees lose – which they did. What’s even more exciting is the prospect of them potentially losing one (or more) of their star players to suspension. All the drama from this game would really only hurt the Yankees, who are in the hunt for a playoff spot. The Tigers are well out of the race with a record worse than the Blue Jays. So I guess if we can’t will the Jays into the playoffs with our support, we can definitely bond over watching the Yankees lose.