There's nothing quite like a good old fashioned baseball fight. And if you attended the Thursday and Friday night games pitting the Kannapolis Intimidators against the Greensboro Grasshoppers of the South Atlantic League (Class A), you more than got your money's worth.
That's because first on Thursday night both entire teams were ejected after two epic brawls. A phone call had to be made to South Atlantic League president John Henry Moss, who ultimately decided along with the umpiring crew to reinstate enough players to actually conclude the game.
With two outs in the first inning, Intimidators pitcher Alberto Zazueta hit batter Logan Morrison with a pitch in the small of his back. Both benches cleared and, eventually, home plate umpire Matt Abbott ejected Grasshoppers batting coach Anthony Iapoce and issued warnings to both teams.
Logan returned to the plate in the third with two outs, and Zazueta hit Logan with a pitch on his upper leg. Abbott immediately ejected the pitcher and Kannapolis manager Chris Jones, and for a second time both teams left their dugouts for a true free-for-all.
"There were four or five brawls going on," Grasshoppers general manager Donald Moore said. "When all was said and done, each team had so many players ejected that they couldn't field a team -- there weren't enough position players left. No one wants a pitcher to play second base."
The umpires had tossed so many players that they didn't know what to do. The umps went into the clubhouse for an hour to discuss taking action before the decision was made to reinstate players.
The dugouts were empty for the remainder of the game. When not at bat, on deck or manning a defensive position, players were to remain in their clubhouses, which were protected by cops. Grasshoppers front-office personnel became messengers, summoning the sequestered players from their lockers to the field when a half-inning ended or their spot in the batting order drew near.
Then on Friday, just because two massive brawls weren't enough, the teams squared off again.
Benches cleared in the top of the third inning, after Intimidator Scotty Madsen slid into second with his spikes up. With South Atlantic League President John Henry Moss watching, players fought for about five minutes, until officials got both teams back into their dugouts.
Despite the fighting, no one was actually ejected this time.
I'm not sure what kind of suspensions are ultimately going to come down on both teams, but maybe if we're lucky all these guys will sign pro boxing contracts to fight during their down time. That's certainly get me watching boxing again.
Here's some video of the major bench clearing brawl, that would be the 2nd dust up on Thursday, in case you were wondering.