Major League Baseball issued suspensions and fines for Wednesday’s bench-clearing brawl between the Red Sox and Yankees, with Boston pitcher Joe Kelly and New York first baseman Tyler Austin getting banished six and five games, respectively. Soon to follow will be discipline for the Rockies vs. Padres fracas. What baseball won’t issue is any kind of edict to try to limit the scope of these melees, so they’ll continue to occur despite their obvious potential for injury, not to mention the stain they leave on the game. The NBA, NHL and NFL have rules in place forbidding bench players from joining in fights, with the first two leagues discouraging such actions not only with fines but also suspensions. Baseball has no such restrictions, other than prohibiting players on the disabled list from entering the field. Why? The argument is both teams don’t have the same number of players on the field at the same time in baseball, as opposed to those other major sports. That means an offensive player involved in a skirmish could be facing a 9-1 disadvantage, although with coaches, the on-deck hitter and possibly baserunners also on the field, the disparity wouldn’t be as big. Still, it’s a valid point, but it doesn’t explain why players in the bullpen are not strictly forbidden from joining in the ruckus. There’s no more ridiculous sight in baseball than pitchers sprinting all the way from behind the outfield to partake in one of these quarrels. Yet it happens time and time again. Instead of umpires having to separate just a handful of players to quickly restore order, they must deal with more than 50 jostling bodies, not including coaches and managers, turning a heated, difficult situation into an impossible task and increasing the chance someone would get hurt.
Why MLB will continue to have bench-clearing brawls
USA Today | Apr 13