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Baseball brawls keep rivalries alive

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Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge attempts to pull pitcher Joe Kelly out of the crowd. 
Photo credit: Maddie Meyer Photo courtesy: Getty Images

Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge attempts to pull pitcher Joe Kelly out of the crowd. Photo credit: Maddie Meyer Photo courtesy: Getty Images

Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge attempts to pull pitcher Joe Kelly out of the crowd. Photo credit: Maddie Meyer Photo courtesy: Getty Images

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The 2018 Major League Baseball season has been off to an exciting start, with plenty of entertaining things happening in the month of April. For example, just a couple weeks ago two major brawls broke out between division rivals.

While fighting is a common occurrence in the NHL, it usually doesn’t happen too often in baseball. In the NHL, fights are seen as a part of the game and usually just involve two players. According to the NHL rules, a player can be given a two-minute minor penalty for excessive pushing and a five-minute major penalty for fighting.

On rare occasions, hockey players can also be suspended and fined if they are deemed an instigator. However, most hockey fights begin with both players dropping their gloves and helmets simultaneously. This is to show the referees that they are both willing participants in the fight and then no instigator penalty is called on either player.

In baseball, however, fights often start with two players but quickly escalate into full team brawls in which the dugout and bullpen players also run onto the field.

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Managers attempt to break up the brawl between the two teams Photo credit: Matthew Stockman Photo courtesy: Getty Images

The Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres were the first two teams to get into a brawl this year. After several Padres players were hit by pitches on April 10, starting pitcher Luis Perdomo decided to take it upon himself to avenge his teammates the next game.

In the first pitch of the third inning, Perdomo threw a 96 mph fastball behind the back of Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado. Arenado was infuriated and immediately threw down his helmet and charged the mound. Perdomo attempted to throw his glove at Arenado as he charged but he missed. Moments later, both dugouts cleared, came together and a giant pushing and shoving match ensued.

Five players were ejected for their roles in the altercation, and Arenado and Perdomo were each suspended for five games. Although having Arenado out of the lineup for five days may have hurt the Rockies, it sure made this National League West division rivalry a lot more interesting. When these two teams meet again, emotions will likely be high and intensity levels will be up. It will be an interesting matchup to say the least.

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Tyler Austin dodges a punch from Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer Photo Courtesy: Getty Images

The next two teams that engaged in a brawl were the classic American League East division rivals, the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.

On April 10, just a few hours after the Rockies and Padres brawl, Yankees first baseman Tyler Austin decided to make a hard slide into second base to break up the easy double play. However, Austin clearly broke some of the unwritten rules of baseball by sliding late and sliding with his spikes up, which ended up hitting shortstop Brock Holt in the lower leg.

Red Sox relief pitcher Joe Kelly retaliated in the seventh inning by throwing a 98 mph fastball into Austin’s back. Austin immediately slammed his bat down in frustration and then made a move toward the mound. Kelly managed to duck and throw a couple punches back at Austin before Aaron Judge, who is 6 feet 7 inches tall and 282 pounds according to MLB.com, put him in a headlock and the benches and bullpens cleared out.

In the end, both players were fined undisclosed amounts and Kelly was given a six-game suspension while Tyler Austin was given a five-game suspension. Red Sox manager Alex Cora and Yankees Third-Base Coach Phil Nevin were also fined for their roles in the altercation. Although both teams may have missed their players for a few games, this altercation helped ignite an exciting rivalry that had been relatively dormant for the past couple years.

When these two teams meet again, the pressure will be on and tempers will likely flare. These are the kind of games that baseball fanatics live for, and rightfully so. There’s no better time to watch a game of baseball than when two division rivals are going at it with everything they got.

Austin Schreiber can be reached at [email protected] or @aschreiber94 on Twitter.

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Baseball brawls keep rivalries alive