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A baseball fight broke out late in Saturday’s Tampa Bay Rays-Baltimore Orioles Game in Tampa.
It was an extremely unusual circumstance for a benches clearing incident for multiple reasons, not the least of which is that it was between two franchises with no significant rivalry or history of animosity.
With the Rays leading 6-2 in the 8th inning, pitcher Peter Fairbanks was about to deliver a pitch to Orioles catcher Robinson Chirinos when the home plate umpire granted a late time request from the hitter.
Fairbanks had just started his motion and appeared somewhat annoyed that time was called, but recovered to strike out Chirinos.
That’s when tensions boiled over:
Fairbanks, confusingly, was apparently mad at Chirinos for asking for time just before his delivery, gesturing at him and the Orioles bench.
Chirinos reacted negatively, understandably, and the benches cleared.
In typical baseball fight fashion, it mostly amounted to both teams standing around in a circle with a few specific participants pushing and shoving for a few minutes.
Fairbanks had no justifiable reason for being upset with Chirinos; players frequently ask for time late, it’s up to the umpire to decide whether to call time or not. Blaming the hitter for the umpire’s decision doesn’t make much sense.
The Rays and Orioles are fighting each other for a playoff spot, with the Rays 8-2 win moving them just a half game ahead of the Orioles for the 3rd Wild Card.
The teams play their final matchup of the season tomorrow, so it’ll be interesting to see if there are any more unexpected fireworks between them.
Follow Ian Miller on Twitter: @ianmSC
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