Take Me Out To The Brawl Game

“I went to a fight last night. In the middle of it, a hockey game broke out.” Hockey is legendary for gear-on-the-ice grabbing and punching and piling into a melee that stops the action (or for some fans, spices it up). What about big fights in other sports? Here at BOTJ and Sports Shorts, we’ve compiled a list of a few legendary Battles of the Game.
Yankees-Red Sox, ALCS, the series ultimately won by the Yanks thanks to the Aaron Boone dinger. But in game 3, one of the most vivid images in sports brawls. Roger Clemens vs. Pedro Martinez. First Pedro hit Karim Garcia in the helmet, then Garcia slid into Todd Walker at second. The Fenway fans were howling. Pedro primed the pump, yelling at Yankees in the dugout and shaking his finger at Jorge Posada. Enough. Clemens threw a high-and-tight fastball to Manny Being Manny, Ramirez went off after Clemens, the benches cleared. And out came Don Zimmer, the bald bench coach and grand old man of the Yankees (and a former Red Sox manager). That’s when Pedro grabbed Zim by the bald head and spun him to the ground. It stopped the show, they took Zimmer out on a stretcher, and that image – Pedro doing his headlock on a 72-year old with metal plates in his head -will live long in sports fight infamy.
The Pacers were playing at Detroit 10 years ago. Ron Artest clobbered Piston center Ben Wallace, both teams shuffled and scuffled. Then somebody tossed either a beer or a Coke and it hit Artest, who went into the stands after the fan. A half-dozen fights broke out as players chased after fans, fans stormed the court, and the three cops on duty were no match for the mess. The night’s tally: suspensions, fines, broken bones and a win for the visiting Indiana Pacers.

It was 2010 when Andre Johnson set a pass-catching record (60 in his first eight games). That day he was dogged by Titans corner Cortland Finnegan. Bump, shove, grab – then the helmets came off. Wild roundhouse punches, benches cleared, refs trying to get in between 300-lb. pro football players, “it’s getting ugly” was the TV comment. It resulted in ejections, fines and lots of cuts and bruises.
Sure, hockey has to get a mention here. They say this one was one of the best hockey fights of all time – but with so many to choose from, you might have your own favorite. In 2004, the Canadiens and the Maple Leafs went at it in a hard-played game that was worthy of their long rivalry. Away from the puck, Leafs defenseman Bryan Marchment and Canucks defenseman Craig Rivet decided to make it personal. Both big buys, both veteran fighters – er, players. Gloves off, big right hands, sneaky left hooks, forget hockey, this is fight night in Canada. A helmet gets knocked off, in-your-face blows are landed, and by the time linesmen break it up, there’s blood on the ice, cuts and welts, and oh, yeah, a game.
These are just a few of the Big Ones– What’s your favorite?
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