Fr. Zuhlsdorf points us to Sports Illustrated’s feature on the biggest bench-clearing brawls in baseball. They appear to be heavily weighted toward recent history, which either means that that the sport is getting more violent or they picked incidents most likely to be in reader’s memories.
Notice how many involve the Red Sox and/or the Yankees. The Pedro Martinez/Don Zimmer incident was unfortunate, but in all fairness I have to lay the blame on Zimmer for that one. A man his age should have conducted himself with a little more dignity. He shouldn’t have been running out looking to fight with a man half his age. To his credit, he took the blame on himself and said just that later.
They also note the Jason Varitek/Alex Rodriguez dustup on July 24, 2004, a moment which many baseball pundits point to as the turning point of the season for Sox leading to their incredible defeat of the Yankees in the ALCS (I can’t say that enough: defeat the Yankees in the ALCS. It was a really, really bad beating) and subsequent win of the World Series. That brawl fired up the Sox and Bill Mueller knocked out a game-winning homer in the 9th inning against the until-then-indestructible Mariano Rivera. After that, it seemed that Rivera couldn’t stop the Sox and neither could the rest of the Yankees. If Jason Varitek were not a great catcher, he’d still be a fan favorite in Boston just for that event.