Baseball's 15 Best Bench-Clearing Brawls of the Last 15 Years

Mark MillerCorrespondent ISeptember 17, 2012

Baseball's 15 Best Bench-Clearing Brawls of the Last 15 Years

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    As the regular season winds down and teams inch closer to a potential postseason run, the stakes are immediately raised.

    With the added pressure comes added emotion that can lead to many different things, not the least of which is a bench-clearing brawl.

    It could be an inside pitch, a hard slide or something as simple as saying the wrong thing to the wrong person.

    No matter the cause, here are some of the most heated bench-clearing brawls we've seen over the past 15 years.

1998: Yankees vs. Orioles

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    Armando Benitez was one of the most intimidating forces to take the mound during his prime, and while stepping into the batter's box to face him was a tall task, stepping into a jab from Benitez couldn't result in anything positive.

1999: Dodgers vs. Angels

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    Bench-clearing brawls can take shape in a number of different ways, but it's not every day that you see two pitchers going at it after a failed bunt attempt.

    Even rarer are flying leg kicks, as we see Chan Ho Park attempt at 1:05 in this video.

2000: Red Sox vs. Rays

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    You could probably make an entire slideshow of people that Pedro Martinez has come to blows with, and while Pedro's altercation with Yankees coach Don Zimmer isn't in here, we do see him take aim at Gerald Williams when he was with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2000.

2001: Scranton vs. Wilkes-Barre

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    There really isn't much to say about the video here involving Izzy Alcantara's infamous kicking incident.

    It's just so stupid that any player could actually think that under any circumstances anything good could possibly come from doing something like that.

2001: Tigers vs. Royals

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    Former Detroit Tigers pitcher Jeff Weaver had a fairly fiery demeanor on the field, so it's not surprising that he might go after someone in the batter's box from time to time.

    He probably could've picked a better target than Mike Sweeney, who has the build of a guy primed to do some damage if set off.

2004: Yankees vs. Red Sox

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    The rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees is so storied that it's hard to pick just one incident.

    This brawl was initially set off by Alex Rodriguez and Jason Varitek and ultimately saw the two teams throw a plethora of jabs in each other's directions.

2006: Cubs vs. White Sox

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    A.J. Pierzynski has always had a reputation as one of baseball's most disliked players, so the image of Chicago Cubs catcher Michael Barrett landing a jab during a brawl with the Chicago White Sox probably brings a smile to many faces.

2008: Red Sox vs. Rays

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    Tensions appear to be high any time teams in the AL East face off, but they really took a turn for the worse after Coco Crisp was plunked by Tampa Bay pitcher James Shields.

    After taking the pitch, Crisp charged the mound, and after all the dust had settled, multiple suspensions were handed out as a result of the bench-clearing brawl.

2009: Tigers vs. Red Sox

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    There might be a bit of a theme developing here, as the Boston Red Sox once again find themselves in the midst of a bench-clearing incident—this time involving Kevin Youkilis after he took a pitch from the Detroit Tigers in a game during the 2009 season.

2010: Cardinals vs. Reds

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    When teams have as much history as the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds do, emotions can easily reach a boiling point, and that's exactly what happened here when Brandon Phillips and Yadier Molina started a brawl that would result in a number of ejections and subsequent suspensions.

2010: Nationals vs. Marlins

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    Nyjer Morgan is definitely one of baseball's most eccentric players, and while it's admirable that he plays with as much passion as he does, such emotion can get the most of a player, as it did to him in a 2010 tilt with the Florida Marlins.

2010: Winnipeg vs. Joliet

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    Looking at Juan Diaz of the Joliet JackHammers, this is about the last guy on earth I'd want charging after me.

    Keeping that in mind, I really can't blame the pitcher for bolting towards the outfield when Diaz went in for the kill.

2011: Orioles vs. Red Sox

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    Much like Diaz, David Ortiz is a guy who you wouldn't want to have coming after you.

    Division rivalries have a way of bringing out the most emotion in players, and that's exactly what we saw here as Ortiz and Kevin Gregg of the Baltimore Orioles came to blows.

2011: Spokane vs. Vancouver

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    I can't really tell exactly what set this brawl between the Spokane Indians and Vancouver Canadians into motion, but it's not every day you see an incident originate at second base.

2012: BYU vs. New Mexico

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    Getting hit by a pitch might be the most common way to start a bench-clearing brawl, but BYU and New Mexico took a much different approach here, waiting until the two teams came out for a postgame handshake before coming to blows.