Baseball sure has come a long way since being known as a gentleman’s sport. Every season multiple brawls break out, and there aren’t any signs of that trend slowing down. The Yasiel Puig-led Cincinnati Reds duked it out versus the Pittsburgh Pirates last year, and even that pales in comparison to Nolan Ryan putting Robin Ventura in a headlock in 1993.
Fights can turn ugly and put a stain on America’s pastime, though. Boston Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez throwing 72-year-old New York Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer to the ground in the 2003 ALCS is all the evidence needed to support that.
Baseball brawls aren’t limited to the United States, and judging from a recent brouhaha between Aguilas del Zulia and Caribes de Anzoategui in a Venezuelan winter league game, they appear much scarier in other countries.
Much. Much. Scarier.
Venezuelan Baseball Brawl
Uh, yeah, that just happened.
The batter here is former MLB outfielder Alex Romero. Following what looked to be an intentional fastball behind his back on a 3-0 count in the eighth inning, Romero chose not to charge Caribes’ pitcher Angel Nesbitt but rather attack catcher Gabriel Lino with his wooden bat.
Romero whacked him multiple times on the back and Lino threw his glove in retaliation before benches from either side cleared.
It is truly a wild sequence, and the whole thing resulted in six players — Romero, Lino and Nesbett included — being ejected. Also ejected was Minnesota Twins infielder Willians Astudillo, who ran from first base into the scuffle. Astudillo became an MLB fan favorite over the last two seasons for his stocky frame and style of play.
According to Yahoo Sports, tensions were high during the entire game. An inning before the brawl, Caribes’ Cesar Valera was drilled with the first pitch after teammates Niuman Romero and Alexi Amarista hit back-to-back home runs. That led to a benches-clearing scuffle and the ejection of three players and Caribes manager Jackson Melian.
Caribes wound up blowing Aguilas out, 13-2, and nine total players were ejected during the game. Fines, suspensions and penalties haven’t been doled out yet, but Romero should receive the harshest of them.
The 36-year-old Romero last played in a MLB baseball game for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008 and 2009, appearing in 144 games and hitting just .239.
Players using their bats as weapons isn’t anything new. Doc Ellis once chased a man into the stands with a bat after being called a racial slur, and Kansas City Royals’ Jorge Soler once charged a team’s dugout holding a bat in the minor leagues.
But this? This is one of the wildest brawls you’ll find, and Romero probably deserves jail time.
This article was originally published January 9, 2020.