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Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago White Sox for their involvement in the first bench-clearing brawl of the 2023 Major League Baseball season. On Easter Sunday, no less!
The former hosted the latter for a three-game series in the Steel City and the rubber match got FIESTY.
It all went down in the top of the sixth inning. Ke’Bryan Hayes stepped into the box with a 1-2 count and one out. Pittsburgh had runners on first and third.
Hayes knocked a ground ball down the third base line and Yoán Moncada was there to scoop it up for Chicago. As he did, O’Neil Cruz took off from third base and tried to score.
There to meet Cruz was White Sox catcher Seby Zavala.
Moncada fielded the grounder and threw home to Zavala in time to beat Cruz. Cruz was out.
However, that was not the concern for the Pirates.
Cruz went down awkwardly to try and beat the tag, and twisted his leg in during the collision at the dish. He had to leave the game with an injury that has yet to be disclosed.
Considering the bang-bang nature of the play, there wasn’t much more that Zavala could do. In fact, the 29-year-old backstop made a conscious effort to throw Hayes’ bat out of the way for both himself and Cruz.
The collision was all-but inevitable and did not appear to be the fault of anyone in particular, but Cruz was in pain. He stayed down for quite awhile.
As he laid on the dirt, things started to escalate around him. Zavala appeared to have said something to Cruz after getting him out, and the two sides started to jaw.
It only escalated from there as benches cleared and bullpens emptied. Everybody got involved, and Chicago pitcher Michael Kopech was especially irate.
The Pirates went on to win 1-0, but Cruz’s health is a much bigger issue than a win or a loss.
2 CommentsLeave a Reply
Always wondered why bullpens wouldn’t just fight it out in the outfield instead of running all the way to the infield.
The “bullpens rushing in” has to be one of THE silliest traditions in all of sports.