Reaction to Mexico-Canada WBC Brawl Just as Sad as Actual Fight

Mar 10, 2013
3:01 PM

Let’s get this straight: last night’s bench-clearing brawl between Mexico and Canada at the World Baseball Classic in Phoenix’s Chase Field was ugly.

However, we don’t know what is sadder—the actual fight or the reactions and consequences after the fact. Here are a few things you should know:


No one will get disciplined. Yes, you read that correctly. There will be no suspensions, according to reports:

The ugly brawl led to seven ejections, but WBC officials said in a statement that no fines or suspensions would be issued.

“Because at least one club —and potentially both— will not advance to the second round, WBCI has determined that disciplinary measures would not have a meaningful corrective impact,” the statement read. “Thus, discipline will not be imposed beyond today’s seven game ejections.”

Blame the WBC format for all this. Canada entered the 9th inning with a 9-3 lead against Mexico, but because one of the tiebreakers to advance to the second round involves run differential, there was still incentive for Canada to run up the score. So this is what happened:

Former University of Illinois catcher Chris Robinson inadvertently triggered a benches-clearing brawl in the ninth inning of Canada’s 10-3 victory that eliminated Mexico from the World Baseball Classic.

With the possibility of Canada, the United States and Italy potentially all ending up 1-2 in the Pool D round-robin, Team Canada manager Ernie Whitt’s team was mindful that run differential breaks tie. Even though it had a 9-3 lead in the ninth inning, Robinson led off with a bunt single. The Mexican pitcher, Arnold Leon, plunked the next hitter, Rene Tosoni, and things turned wild after he started walking toward the mound.


It got even uglier before it got better. The report continues:

Whitt almost pulled the Canadian team off the field after fans started throwing objects. He said coach Denis Boucher was hit in the head with a bottle and that another object just missed coach Larry Walker.

“We want to play the game hard,” Robinson said. “We play it properly.  You get an opportunity to help a team, help your teammates (in any way), that’s something to do. That’s the way that we play as a whole.  That’s the way I’ve always played.”

Like Whitt, Mexico manager Rick Renteria blamed the situation on the unusual format, which could penalize a team for following normal baseball etiquette.

Said Renteria: “The tournament, it has different rules … In a normal setting, a normal professional setting, I should say, a 9-3 bunt in that particular situation would be kind of out of the ordinary.  But based on the rules that have been established in this tournament, the run differentials and things of that nature … those things may occur. It was just a misunderstanding.”

Larry Walker needs to chill. The Canadian coach and former MLB star had this to say about Mexican pitcher (and Boston Red Sox) Alfredo Aceves: ““I had a hold of him, and I think I saw Satan in his eyes.” Satan? Really?

This isn’t the first time that Canada and Mexico had issues on the baseball field. Here is a story from 1991, when the countries played in the Panamerican Games in Cuba:

According to the Mexicans’ account of the fight, catcher Alex Andreopoulos of Canada set off the incident when he called catcher Alberto Vargas of Mexico, the first to bat in the top of the sixth inning, a “third-world chili eater, a tortilla eater.”

Vargas reportedly replied that Mexico could still beat Canada at baseball anytime and the fighting ensued.

A statement by Harvey Bailey, a Canadian team official, gave a different account.

“The trouble began when Canadian catcher Alex Andreopoulos was called out on a controversial play at second base to end the fifth inning,” Bailey said in the statement.

“When the Canadian team took to the field to begin the sixth inning Andreopoulos and a player in the Mexican dugout began talking to one another before the benches cleared.,” the statement said. “I was in the stands and I saw the Mexican player run onto the field first.”

Players, coaches and officials rushed onto the field from the dugouts as the shocked crowd booed.

Cuban police officers ran on to the field and pulled players apart. One Mexican player went back to his dugout to grab a bat, but witnesses said he was restrained by Mexican team officials.

Social media needs to chill as well. These are actual tweets: