On this Memorial Day weekend, what's more American than baseball ... and brawling?
Apparently the goodwill from Memorial Day didn't transfer to the baseball diamond this weekend as we had brawls all over. It started Friday night with animosity between two of the most underrated rivals in the majors -- Boston and Tampa Bay. The two have a long history of brawling, most famously Pedro Martinez vs. Gerald Williams, and managers Bobby Valentine and Joe Maddon re-ignited it this weekend.
It started with the Rays plunking Dustin Pedroia in the sixth inning. And later, with the Rays up big, Boston pitcher Franklin Morales tried -- a couple times -- and eventually hit Luke Scott. Oddly enough, it was the coaches that got the most heated as you'll see.
And never one to let sleeping dogs lie, Bobby V trashed the Rays' coaching staff the next day.
''I thought their coaches were really aggressive; as a matter of fact
I took offense to the aggressiveness of their coaches,'' Valentine
said. ''I thought it was really unprofessional. I was really proud of
the way my coaches and what they were trying to do; what they were
supposed to do in those situations. [The Rays coaches] seemed very immature and out of control. Coaches are supposed to stop those things from
happening and their coaches were agitating, aggravating and instigating
Funny, I thought it was Sox bench coach Tim Bogar who looked to be instigating things as he grabbed Scott by the jersey and shouted in his face. For Maddon's part, he called Morales' move "absurd, idiotic" Friday night. He took the high road on Saturday, saying how much he respected the veterans -- Pedroia, David Ortiz, etc. -- on the Sox.
But it wasn't just the big boys who were in a foul mood this holiday weekend. The NCAA is currently holding its conference championships in baseball with the tourney to begin next week. Indiana and Purdue met in the Big Ten championship game on Saturday and the intrastate rivalry got even more heated than in football or basketball.
After a rundown between third and home and a wild throwing error, Purdue baserunner Eric Charles bowled over Indiana third baseman Dustin DeMuth and all Hell broke loose.
The weird thing is how the brawl ended. It went from zero-to-60 in one second and then 60-to-zero just as fast. It looked like a hockey fight as both sides walked off. No one was ejected and the run that scored on the throwing error turned out to be the game-winner for Purdue.
Greatest game-saving catch ever?
Let's finish up this installment of Playing the Field with some happier news. In a junior college title game, Lower Columbia (Washington) left fielder Derrick Salberg made one of the greatest catches of all-time.
His team was leading Everett Community College, 4-2, with two outs and one runner on in the bottom of the 9th inning. Then, this happened:
Game over. Championship won.
And yes, that is a catch, not a home run. As long as your feet are still in the field of play (which appears to be true) while the catch is made, it is an out. Congrats, Derrick.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports. If you wake up the Bambino, he will drill him on the ass.