Beanball Wars…

Things got a bit chippy in the final game of the series with Yakima on Thursday night – a night after the Bears blew up Hawks catcher Willson Contreras not once, but twice at home plate.

It started with Contreras getting plunked by Yakima starter Blake Perry (one of the best control pitchers in the Northwest League), then Boise starter Jose Arias hit Josh Parr with two out and no on in the third.  The next time Contreras came to the plate, he was drilled again by Perry, which forced the umpire crew to warn both benches (meaning any other “intentional” hit by pitch would result in an ejection of both player and manager).  Arias, who tossed six shutout innings, went “out” for the seventh – but his purposeful first pitch hit Shaun Cooper, with the big righty and his skipper each being ejected.

Was it over…no, as in the bottom of the inning with two on and two out, Xavier Batista singled, with Contreras bowling over Yakima catcher Ronnie Freeman (who hung onto the ball) in a violent collision to end the inning – earning Contreras an ejection as well (and both dugouts spilling onto the warning tracks in front of them).  I would think the series August 19-21 in Yakima may be interesting.

It brought back memories for me of some benches clearing situtations I have seen, along with the one “Base Brawl” I witnessed.  The last time the Hawks cleared the benches was in 2009, when Everett manager John Tarmago took offense to a bunt by Hak-Ju Lee with Boise up 7-2 in the eighth inning – having his pitcher buzz Logan Watkins with the next two pitches, earning an ejection.  During his rant with the umpires, he popped off with Hawks skipper, Casey Kopitzke, as the duo went toe-to-toe, emptying the benches, as you can see from the amateur video.

The previous benches clearing moment was way back in 2005, this time against Yakima, as a Boise pitcher Edgar Baez plunked the Bears Lester Contreras with a pitch – taking two steps to the mound while pointing his bat at the hurler.  What was memorable about it was Hawks’ third-baseman Elvin Puello and Yakima’s Ricardo Sosa going nose-to-nose without a punch being thrown.

I did witness a full-fledged baseball fight in my younger days at the Kingdome, when the Mariners were playing the Brewers (back when they were an American League team).  It was mini bat night and we had moved from the cheap seats down behind the Brewers bullpen.  Not one, but two benches clearing altercations took place, the second one moving down the right field line into the aforementioned bullpen – punches and wrestling taking place right in front of some 12-year-olds at the ball park.  It was crazy!!!

ATTENDANCE NOTE – The Hawks had 2,310 fans at Wednesday’s $1 night, while across the parking lot at Les Bois Park, the track attracted 3,937 fans (having drawn just under 5,000 fans last Saturday).

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Muskat Ramblings's Carrie Muskat has been covering Major League Baseball since 1981 and is the author of "Banks to Sandberg to Grace: Five Decades of Love and Frustration with the Cubs." You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. Here, she blogs about the Cubs.

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