Photo of Baseball Field

Photo of Baseball Field

MLB Brawls: The Spectacle that Shouldn’t Be

In the long, storied history of Major League Baseball, there are countless instances of grandeur and heroism, feats of athleticism that defy belief and humble the imagination. Yet, there is also a more unfortunate part of our beloved pastime’s history that rises to the surface from time to time, an aspect that reeks of machismo and misplaced aggression, and is at once absurd, embarrassing, and detrimental to the sport: the baseball brawl.

Now, I’m not talking about the occasional heated exchange of words, the mildly aggressive posturing that results from an inside pitch or a particularly aggressive slide. No, what I’m referring to are the full-fledged melees, where the dugouts empty, and players charge the field, fists clenched, in an act more befitting a boxing ring than a baseball diamond.

When these incidents occur, they often dominate headlines, overshadowing the game itself and raising questions about sportsmanship and professionalism in MLB. However, the truth is that, to many fans, these brawls simply look dumb. They seem like pointless outbursts of primal behavior that, rather than adding drama or intensity to the game, serve only to make a mockery of the sport’s integrity.

First, it’s worth noting that baseball, unlike hockey or football, is not really a contact sport. It’s a game of skill, precision, and strategy, not brute strength or physical domination. The sight of grown men, lauded for their dexterity and coordination, clumsily attempting to land punches on each other is a far cry from the image of athletic prowess we usually associate with these professionals. The lack of actual fighting skill on display is cringe-worthy at best. These athletes are making too much money to risk injury, so it’s a sign of solidarity I guess, though the sight of those bullpens emptying is laughable.

The logistics of these brawls also contribute to their inherent absurdity. It’s a sight that would be comical if it weren’t so disgraceful: two men squaring off, surrounded by a sea of teammates and opponents, who for the most part, stand around awkwardly, unsure whether to intervene or stand back. A few brave (or foolish) souls might try to join the fray, only to add to the overall confusion and lack of structure.

And then there’s the aftermath. Suspension, fines, public apologies, and the lingering damage to the team’s reputation. These fights aren’t just a one-time spectacle; they carry consequences that can impact a team’s performance and morale for weeks, even months, following the incident. They simply do not align with the spirit of fair play and respect that we, as fans, demand from our sport.

It’s also worth mentioning that these brawls are a bad look for baseball in the public eye. In a time where baseball is fighting to maintain its popularity, particularly among younger audiences, these outbursts of violence only serve to reinforce negative stereotypes about the sport: that it’s an old-fashioned game, unwilling to adapt to the changing standards and expectations of society.

Baseball is a game of heart, skill, and mind. It’s a sport that has survived and thrived through generations because it is inherently compelling, from the beauty of a perfect pitch to the thrill of a last-minute homerun. It doesn’t need the spectacle of violence to be interesting or exciting.