I have a confession to make. I almost didn’t go to last night’s South Bend Cubs game. A couple months ago, I signed up to work a summer school STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) camp for kindergarten through second graders and these kids are wearing me out! I wanted to stay home and watch Kyle Schwarber’s first start as a Chicago Cub and not spend a couple more hours walking to and fro at a ballgame with a slightly crabby 13 year old. But I promised I’d write about the baby Cubbies for WSD so I went to the game and boy! am I glad I did. Last night’s game was one of the more interesting I’ve seen in quite some time. Unfortunately, the baby Cubs didn’t win – in fact they lost their 7th in the last 8 games.
To set the proverbial stage, Wednesday June 17th’s South Bend Cubs game featured Trevor Clifton, Top 30 Cubs prospect, as starting pitcher against the Dayton Dragons. The Dragons had defeated the Cubbies on Tuesday evening 3-1 which is the same score they would ultimately win Wednesday’s game by. However, the most interesting part of the game was the all-out, benches clearing brawl that erupted in the top of the fourth inning.
On a play at the plate, Dayton Dragon’s player Shed Long slid into South Bend catcher Gioskar Amaya and the two got tangled up. Words were exchanged and the pushing began. The benches cleared quickly and since the bullpen are fairly close, the field was full of pushing, shoving and cussing players almost immediately. I will never be accused of quick thinking and tonight that was made painfully obvious. While watching the fight from our front row seats right behind home plate, I didn’t think to start recording on my iPhone until it was almost over. However a very nice guy sitting behind me (Josh Reeves of South Bend) did get most of it on his phone. This video is his.
— Sharon Holston (@ClaireBDesigns) June 18, 2015
One thing you didn’t see on video was pitcher Trevor Clifton pulling a Dragon player off his catcher Gioskar Amaya. This happened fairly early in the fight and might be why later on we see #5 of the Dragons sucker punch Clifton in the side of the head. He then proceeded to run away – quickly – since it appeared Jeffrey Baez (a fairly large man) hit back.
Clifton, Amaya and Cael Brockmeyer were ejected from the Cubbies. Jesse Hodges (@CCHodgy) caught the remainder of the game, which according to SouthBendCubs.com, was the first of his career. Three players from Dayton also were ejected although I would imagine, if fines are levied for minor league players, some more players from both teams might be getting letters after the video is reviewed. What is obvious (to me at least) from reviewing the video and photos is that Dayton seemed to be the aggressors. As the initial tussle died down, it was Dayton players who continued “talking” and moving towards the Cubbies. Two different catchers from Dayton (#3 and #13) continued to try to work their way around to the South Bend bench. Both were ultimately ejected (as was Long).
Here’s the thing about this fight. It was a real fight – not one of those “Hold me back, hold me back” things where no one touches anyone else and there is just a lot of talking and posturing. Nope, this was actual punches thrown and it was tense for quite a while. Unfortunately, it didn’t help South Bend win as they lost again. The teams meet for the final game of this series later this evening.
Things I learned from this fight:
1. It doesn’t always pay to be tall. Cael Brockmeyer was playing first base for the Cubbies and didn’t seem to be involved in the fight but was ejected. South Bend radio agrees that his ejection seemed unwarranted. My theory is the umps needed someone else to toss and they noticed Cael.
2. Trevor Clifton does not like it when you touch his catcher – like at all. The Dayton player Long and Gioskar Amaya started the pushing and shoving but it was Clifton would rushed in to grab Long after the catcher.
3. #5 sucker punched Clifton and it seemed premeditated. In the video (again Thanks Josh Reeves!) you can see #5 crouched down, sneaking around another player to come up on Clifton from the side. He hits – and runs. I don’t know if MiLB does fines for fights but #5 definitely deserves on.
4. I suck at quick thinking. The fight was almost over before I managed to get my phone up and recording. Also my 13 year old doesn’t really care about baseball all that much but he did enjoy the fight. My 11 year old daughter thankfully does like baseball………but she also enjoyed the fight.
5. Michael Wagner doesn’t get flustered. He had just joined the Cubbies earlier in the day from Tennessee and was suddenly asked to replace Clifton. Wagner didn’t even have a uniform with his name on it. He proceeded to pitch 3.1 innings and strike out 6 batters.
6. Zac Hedges and Jake Stinnett didn’t “get” to participate in the fight but didn’t seem to be too upset by it. Stinnett pitches tonight and Hedges had pitched Tuesday so both were in the stands with radar guns.
Here are a few non fight related photos:
Also this just in: according to Mike Monaco, Jesse Hodges emergency catcher extraordinaire will play for Team Canade in July’s Pan American games.