Created on: March 12, 2013
It was far from the goodwill that is intended in these types of international matches. In a World Baseball Classic (WBC) game held in Phoenix, Arizona, the result was a wild brawl, with so many punches flying back and forth that ESPN described it as such: “A little bunt single turned this WBC match-up into a World Boxing Classic.”
How the melee began and ended
It happened in the 9th inning of a game between Canada and Mexico, following Mexico’s “emotional win” over the US and Canada’s discomforting loss to Italy. The incident began when Canada’s Outfielder Rene Tosoni was hit by a pitch from Mexico’s Arnold Leon.
It ended with not only 7 players being ejected from the game, but a widespread brawl in the stands as well. Even after the baseball player melee had been stopped, things continued to get ugly in the bleachers, with one fan throwing a full water bottle at Canadian Pitching Coach Denis Boucher.
Then, as the game play continued, a baseball was hurled from the stands, nearly hitting the Canadian first base coach. At that point, Canada’s Manager Ernie Whitt sought out the umpire and threatened to pull the team out of the game altogether. In the end, Canada won the match 10 to 3, according to the “Huffington Post.”
More surprising than the brawl
If some were surprised about the brawl even occurring, the comment from Canada’s Justin Morneau seems to speak to the event’s intensity: “Whoever says that we’re just here as an extra spring training game or we’re just here to say we represented our country and then go home obviously didn't see how intense that game was and what it means to everybody that was involved.” An MLB announcer noted that the fracas got “ugly real fast.”
Perhaps most surprising of all was not just the total lack of civility on the part of players and fans, but the complete failure on the part of the governing body (the WCBI) to take any disciplinary action after the game.
Following the game, they issued a statement that read, in part, “"Because at least one club - and potentially both - will not advance to the second round, WBCI has determined that disciplinary measures would not have a meaningful corrective impact. Thus, discipline will not be imposed beyond today’s seven game ejections.”
Impact on future games
This leaves baseball fans wondering just how safe attending a game in the future might be, particularly if there’s no likelihood that a brawl this big and involved will result in disciplinary action by the game’s organizers. While the Mexican and Canadian teams believed that the WCBI made the right decision in this case (after the WCBI called them on the carpet privately about their individual teams’ actions), others are not so sure.
According to Mexico’s Manager Rick Renteria, “It was just a misunderstanding.” Unfortunately, for baseball fans everywhere, a very violent one that perhaps sends the wrong signal about sports and sportsmanship.
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World Baseball Classic game between Canada and Mexico ends in brawl