Friday, July 25, 2008

When good brawls go bad

I enjoy a good, bench clearing brawl as much as anyone does. It's understandable that they happen; sporting events are highly emotional and extremely competitive, especially at the professional level. There's nothing like a brush back pitch - followed by some good pitcher/batter yelling and shoving - to get a crowd riled up.

Except when a player goes too far.

In a Wednesday night game between the Peoria Chiefs and the Dayton Dragons - Class A minor league affiliates of the Cubs and Reds, respectively - a bench clearing brawl led to the arrest of pitcher Julio Castillo for felony assault after he attempted to hurl a baseball in to the Dragons dugout.

The ball missed the dugout and sailed into the crowd, sending a fan to the hospital.

The brawl led to 17 ejections, most of which were temporarily overturned so the game could be finished, and will certainly lead to massive suspensions.

Especially for Castillo, who very well may have thrown his career away along with the baseball. Who does that? The velocity some of these guys generate could legitimately kill another human being. How can anyone justify a hard slide at second base, or a pitch a little too inside, being worth an assault charge? If you want to fight, be a man about it. Drop your gloves, put down your bats, and throw punches. And more than anything else, keep it on the field.

Which is where Castillo can only hope to stay.

The shortened video is posted below, and you can see Castillo's throw between the :11 and :12 second mark. Under the video, you'll find a link to a longer video of the brawl taken by a spectator. Fair warning: it might be a little disturbing to some.

See the longer version here.

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