With Canada holding a 9-3 lead heading into the ninth inning against Mexico, catcher Chris Robinson laid down a picture-perfect bunt to open the final frame.
Had this been a regular-season MLB game, bunting your way on with a six-run lead in the ninth inning would be an egregious offense, but not in the World Baseball Classic, where run differential counts as a tiebreaker.
Team Canada skipper Ernie Whitt, a 15-year MLB veteran and Toronto's longtime catcher, explained as much to MLB.com's Mike Bauman:
Regular baseball, during the season, you'd never see that. In this tournament (because of the tie-breaker), you play baseball like it's 0-0. That's the unfortunate thing.
The bunt enraged Mexico and pitcher Arnold Leon. With encouragement from third baseman Luis Cruz, who visibly told Leon to plunk the next batter, the Mexican hurler began throwing inside to Canada's Rene Tosoni.
Leon's second pitch drew a warning from home plate umpire Brian Gorman—issued to both teams—but that didn't stop Leon from drilling Tosoni in the back on the next pitch.
Tosoni headed for the mound, the benches and bullpens emptied, and all hell broke loose at Chase Field in Arizona.
This wasn't just a scrum with people pushing and shoving each other—it was an all-out brawl.
By the time both teams settled down, seven players were ejected. Danny Knobler of CBS Sports had the names:
As the teams returned to their respective dugouts, Team Canada found itself the target of object-throwing Mexican fans, as manager Ernie Whitt vented to Bauman:
"One of my coaches was hit," Whitt said. "[Pitching coach] Denny Boucher was hit in the head with a bottle. [Hitting/first base coach] Larry Walker was almost hit in the head with a ball. That's when I went out to the umpire, when I said: 'Another thing comes out, we're going to pull our team off the field.'"
No matter how fired up fans are, firing projectiles at coaches and players simply has no place in the game. But that doesn't make the despicable actions of a few any less memorable.