PUNCHFIGHT! PUNCHFIGHT!

[Cursory statement condemning violence in all forms, specifically during normally genteel sporting events. Wailing appeals to think of our/the children.]

PUNCHFIGHT!

Absolutely crazy scenes in Arizona tonight as the Canada/Mexico Pool D game went off the rails late. After Canada built a huge lead thanks to Michael Saunders and other people who aren’t Michael Saunders (but probably wish they were), things went ham in the 9th inning.

Canada built a six run lead over Mexico but, because of the run differential rules at play in the WBC (not quite run differential, but reason enough for Canada to continue adding runs if at all possible), the team from the Great White North needed to put up as many runs as possible to keep any hope of moving to the next round alive.

Canadian catcher Chris Robinson, already involved in a collision at home plate and two tough take-out slides at second base earlier in the game, lead off the ninth inning with a bunt single. Bunting for a hit with a six-run lead is a clear infraction of the nebulous code governing the game, so Mexican third baseman Luis Cruz made it clear to pitcher Arnold Leon that frontier justice was in order.

After failing to hit Canadian batter Rene Tosoni with his first two attempts, Leon finally connected with Tosoni’s back, inciting the above melee.

Most baseball fights are little more than listing swarms of men sternly discussing their intentions in a large circle. The fact that Mexico faced elimination after a landmark win over team USA the day before and Canada improbably had a late lead in a baseball game against decent competition, combined with the lack of intra-union familiarity which usually diffuses bench clearing situations during most Major League games, allowed this brawl to careen into donnybrook territory, with multiple wildly thrown punches and cheap shots of all stripe.

The ugly scenes continued as Canadian pitching coach Denis Boucher was pelted with an object thrown from the seats above the Canadian dugout, presumably by an enraged Mexican supporter. Once play resumed, Canadian first base coach Larry Walker was nearly hit with a baseball thrown from stands, with Mexican fans the logical culprit though nobody should rule out a disgruntled Arizona Minuteman-type who would KILL for the “opportunity” Walker just had.

Unfortunately for Canada, some of their more exuberant pugilists stand to miss the final and deciding round robin game, as suspensions loom for key combatants. Pete Orr, Tosoni, and Johnson were all ejected from the game and could potentially miss tomorrow’s deciding game against the Americans.

Update! No suspensions!

After the game, several Canadian coaches and players met with the media and said the exact type stuff you expect to hear in this situation. Thankfully, all references to hockey-playing pasts and Canadian grit were drowned out by the words of Larry Walker, Canadian Hero.


All in all, crazy stuff. Pure insanity at Chase Field. Also, a fight! Canada pulls themselves off the mat and land a haymaker against Mexico. Puncher’s chance against team USA. Boxing cliche! PUNCHFIGHTS!