I’ll be honest. I had no clue baseball was played in Alaska. I also had zero idea that there’s a whole Alaska Baseball League in a state that is not only very far away from the rest of the United States but so cold and so dark at times. It’s true, even Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Aaron Judge played in The Last Frontier State.
Each year, the summer league plays what is called the “Midnight Sun Game” in Fairbanks, Alaska. The annual event takes place during the summer solstice and begins at 10:30 at night because, well, the sun is out for almost a full 24 hours. Famous MLB players like Tom Seaver, Dave Winfield, Terry Francona, Harold Reynolds and Jason Giambi have taken part in it.
Apparently, the ABL is no stranger to on-field fights like the rest of baseball’s minor leagues.
Managers Throw Haymakers In Alaskan Minor League Game
A game between the Peninsula Oilers and Anchorage Bucs went 14 innings in July 2015, but that wasn’t the craziest part. Oilers head coach Kevin Griffin and Bucs head coach Mike Grahovac got into a bench clearing brawl that involved throwing haymakers at each other.
The best punch of the fracas belonged to Griffin, who struck Grahovac’s face and knocked his hat and pen off his head.
Grahovac was originally ejected for arguing balls and strikes with the ump, but some words were said by Griffin on his way out. Grahovac reportedly bumped him and things escalated quickly from there. Peninsula ended up winning the game 9-3 with a six-run outburst after the incident and the Bucs couldn’t match that in the bottom of the inning.
The minor leagues are wild. Pitchers throw balls at helpless fans. Batters kick catchers and fight entire teams. It’s just nice to know that even in Alaska, a state known for wildlife like salmon, bears, caribou and whales, even knuckle sandwiches are on the menu.
This post was originally published on July 10, 2015, but that’s too good a punch to leave in the past.