Saturday marked the 20th anniversary of the epic on-field brawl between the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees. It all began when Orioles’ pitcher Armando Benitez hit Tino Martinez in the back after giving up a 3-run home run to Bernie Williams. Check out the video below.
ESPN recently published a piece about the 1998 season, noting parallels to this year. According to the article, one result of this and other on-field brawls in the 1990s was a tougher stance by MLB and greater discipline of those involved in such incidents. For his part in the Os-Yankees brawl, Benitez got an 8-game suspension. Darryl Strawberry and Graeme Lloyd were suspended for 3 games each, and Jeff Nelson and Alan Mills were each suspended for two games.
Have things changed much in the last two decades? Just last month benches cleared during a Yankees-Red Sox game. Retaliation pitches and bench-clearing incidents seem to be a part of baseball culture. As frustrations boil over and tempers flare, the possibility of aggression emerges. Is this simply part of the game, or a social issue that needs to be addressed?