The heated Yankees-Red Sox rivalry erupted into a rather violent brawl at Fenway Park during Wednesday night’s game. Videos of Yankees and Red Sox players fist to fist flooded Facebook feeds and Twitter timelines, with some rooting for the manifestation of the rivalry and others disappointed in the physical confrontation at the ballpark.
The first incident that sparked the feud took place earlier in the game when Yankee player Tyler Austin slid into Red Sox player Brock Holt’s calf during a second-base play, causing players from both teams to get worked up. Fans were tense, and Red Sox players certainly viewed the slide as an attack on a fellow teammate and therefore the entire team. Still, nothing physical had happened just yet.
The incident that starred in the viral videos occurred much later. In the seventh inning of the game, Sox pitcher Joe Kelly, in what seemed like an intentional aim, hit batting Austin right in the shoulder, clearing both benches for a fight. Many members of the audience cheered them on, excited to see the physical manifestation of the infamous rivalry.
This brawl resulted in both players’ suspension by Major Baseball League officials, with Austin receiving a five-game suspension, and Kelly six. But even though the fight only affected the people involved, namely Austin and Kelly and their teammates, the implications of their actions have some troubling consequences.
There’s no denying that people watch sports games for the competition. Though this competition is usually just part of normal game play, sometimes the competitive spirit extends further, causing fights to break out mid-game. But it’s still unusual to see these violent fights break out during baseball games. Baseball isn’t a sport that requires physical contact, unlike football or hockey.
Though the fans can’t seem to get enough of this kind of brawl, It’s actually quite embarrassing to witness two adult-men unable to control their emotions during a game. Regardless of the circumstances or reasons for the fight, resorting to violence just isn’t justified. If the players are really interested in gauging their worth, they can do that on the field during the game, and avoid engaging in these aggressive actions. As childish of a motto it may seem, violence is never the answer. Sports are about showing off athletic skill and prowess. Fights like these dilute the true meaning of the game.
Arguments that this fight was necessary or that it helped to revive the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry are concerning. Sports pundits shouldn’t be encouraging further fights for publicity or think these conflicts are necessary to “spice up” the rivalry. There are ways to express rivalry in ways that are far more productive and display far more sportsmanship.
Baseball players, especially at the professional level, are many childrens’ role models, especially for kids who want to pursue a career in the sport. Baseball is considered America’s favorite pastime, and is inherently a part of our culture. Kids, as impressionable as they are, can be easily influenced by watching these incidences of violence. This culture trickles down to the college players, who often emulate the behavior these professional players exhibit on the field. These players are breeding a problematic culture.