Phillies-Giants Brawl: Who Is to Blame for the Fight?

Sean LarsonContributor IIIAugust 7, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 05:  Shane Victorino #8 of the Philadelphia Phillies fights with the San Francisco Giants after being hit by a pitch in the sixth inning at AT&T Park on August 5, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Last night, I was sitting at my computer with the Phillies vs. Giants game on in the background, when suddenly I look up and see Shane Victorino walking toward the mound, ready to throw down.

Then, I see Eli Whiteside bouncing around like he's getting ready for a boxing match. Whiteside turns, attempts to tackle Placido Polanco, who was coming over from first, the benches clear and the brawl is on.

This was definitely an impressive fight in my books. While no major punches were thrown, it got pretty scrappy.

I say no major punches because, while this was a fight that had more pushing and shoving than anything, it did appear that Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval got in a quick punch that is clearly seen on replay. That could lead to a short suspension for the Panda.

My personal favorite moment was when the Phillies' bat boy got in the middle of it. I kid you not. Watch a replay of the fight, and you'll see a kid from the Phillies with a batting helmet and a blank jersey getting right up in the face of Giant players and being held back by some Phillies.

Now that the dust has cleared, just who is to blame for this fight?

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 05:  Shane Victorino #8 of the Philadelphia Phillies walks off the field as manager Charlie Manuel looks on after a fight with the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on August 5, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jed
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
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Ask a Phillies fan, and they'll tell you it was Ramon Ramirez's fault for throwing at Victorino. Ask a Giants fan, and they'll tell you Victorino started the whole thing by approaching the mound.

There's no way to tell if Ramirez intentionally threw at Victorino. For all we know, the classic excuse of, "the ball just got away from me," could be entirely true.

The true answer to who was to blame? It was everyone's fault.

Victorino clearly got the sparks started by walking towards Ramirez instead of first base. However, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel raised a valid point when he stated that Ramirez came off the mound toward the plate; and unless Victorino wants his teammates to call him a chicken, he had to do something.

Eli Whiteside did nothing right in this fight however. He was bouncing around like some boxer just looking for a fight. When Placido Polanco came over from first, he made a horrible attempt at a tackle and only made a fool of himself.

In these situations, the catcher's only job is to protect his pitcher. The second he turned to tackle Polanco, he failed at the job, leaving the umpire to do it for him.

Whiteside came out of this looking bad, but Victorino came out looking worse.

Not only did he initiate the fight, he escalated it when he actually tackled Giants' hitting coach Hensley "Bam-Bam" Meulens. It's not totally clear from the video if he meant to go after Meulens, or if he was trying to go after a player and Meulens was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Finally, I'm gonna let Ramirez off the hook on this one. He hit a batter, and whether it was intentional or not, that seemed to be about the only thing he was guilty of in the fight; guys like Whiteside and Victorino came out looking much worse.

If suspensions are handed down, Victorino and Whiteside deserve suspensions of equal length. And since his ejection was more of a formality than anything, I think the league should go easy on Ramirez.

If this is the start to a West Coast/East Coast rivalry, I can't wait to see what happens if these two teams meet in October.

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