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You may disagree. You may find them to be high comedy, or blood boiling, or a welcome break from the slow and stately pace of the game. But I think baseball brawls are ridiculous.

In no other sport is it kosher to leave the bench to join a fight. In the NBA, simply stepping on the court and stepping back off is worth a one-game suspension. In hockey, the most violent of the (semi) major sports, fights are rampant (which I also find ridiculous), but they are controlled, planned, and isolated (the Wings-Avs notwithstanding), and the players shake hands after they're over, In baseball, bench players and Don Zimmers rush the pitching mound to add fuel to the fire. Relief pichers make the 300-foot jog in from the bullpen so they can arrive late and stand around pushing people and holding each other back. It would be no less ridiculous if they just stayed out in their outfield pens, lobbing projectiles at each other over the bullpen walls.

This comes up, of course, because of yesterday's seven-ejection brawl in a Tiger-Royal game. Runelvys Hernandez hit three Tigers in that game to Mike Maroth's one, and the third, Carlos Guillen, took umbrage to getting popped in the head.

Guillen argued that Hernandez's first pitch of the sixth inning hit him on the foot. On the next pitch, the sickening thud of ball-on-helmet filled Comerica Park. Guillen pointed at Hernandez and gestured at him as catcher John Buck tried to direct him to first. The benches and bullpens emptied. Hernandez's day was done. Plate umpire Marty Foster had issued warnings to both sides after Maroth hit a batter in the second, after Hernandez hit two in the first. Foster judged Hernandez had thrown at Guillen on purpose with the warning in effect. Under the rules, Hernandez and K.C. manager Buddy Bell were tossed. Everything seemed to have died down as Guillen reached first base. But as the ejected Hernandez left the field, he said something to Guillen from about 30 feet away. Guillen pointed as he replied, then went after Hernandez.
At which point, Farnie proceeded to bodyslam someone, and the pileup was on.

Baseball has rules about issuing warnings to teams that throw at batters, an feeble attempt to prevent beanballs, retaliation, and brawls. They should also use harsh fines to prevent players from leaving the dugouts and bullpens, NBA style. I think the reason they haven't done so is that unlike his aggreived counterparts in in the NBA or NHL, a hit batsman who gets in a fight is outnumbered by opposing players on the field nine to one. Dugouts are allowed to clear to even the odds. I say forget that. Let the batsman stand there one on nine. Give him incentive to stand there yelling at the pitcher, held back by the umpire, an eventually choose to take his base rather than fight. If he charges the pitcher with a bat, arrest him. If the other team beats him up nine-on-one, let the police break it up and arrest them all. This silly vigilante justice is a bunch of macho posturing that wastes all of our time.