Boy, that escalated quickly.
One minute, the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Yankees were in the midst of a pretty inconsequential game in September. The next, the two teams were at each other’s throat.
For this week’s Flashback Friday, we take a look back at the famous rumble in the Bronx on September 15th 2009 between the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
That’s right, the Jays and the Yanks had a good old fashioned baseball brawl on their hands. As I mentioned earlier, the Blue Jays were merely just riding out the rest of the season while the Yankees were well on their way to winning another World Series title.
The incident itself didn’t just erupt out of nowhere; there of course was some preamble leading up to the fateful moment when fists started to fly. I guess it all stemmed from a fastball from Mark Melancon that hit Aaron Hill squarely in the back.
Hill was actually the second Blue Jays batter to be plunked in that game, the first being Edwin Encarnacion.
At that point in the game, the Blue Jays enjoyed a comfortable 8-2 lead. So if the Yankees were looking to send a “message” for whatever reason, that would be the time to do it. Hill took his base uncontested, but it seemed like something started to fester under the surface.
Jesse Carlson took the mound the following inning, and that’s when things really started to get crazy. The inning started off innocently enough with Hideki Matsui popping up, but then an exchange between Jesse Carlson and Jorge Posada really kicked things into high gear.
Carlson clearly threw behind Posada, and not surprisingly the Yankees backstop didn’t take too kindly to being thrown at. Posada could be clearly seen yelling “you don’t wanna do that, you don’t wanna do that!”.
If Carlson was in fact trying to hit Posada, he didn’t do a very good job … as the pitch missed him by about a foot and a half. Perhaps that was an indication of how well Carlson’s location was that night.
Subsequently, both benches and bullpens cleared and both teams were warned by home plate umpire Jim Joyce. Carlson ended up surrendering a walk to Posada … but it didn’t stop there.
A few batters later, Brett Gardner hit a double to right field and Jorge Posada crossed the plate as any ordinary runner would do, but not before elbowing Jesse Carlson in the process. Carlson was merely backing up his catcher at home (very slowly, mind you), and Posada nonchalantly jabbed at him.
And as the video below shows, that’s when all hell broke loose.
Here’s how Blue Jays reliever Jesse Carlson recalled everything going down that night:
“I was kind of just looking up, upset about the pitch, and when he came by, he just threw a shoulder right into my shoulder. The umpire saw it. During the at-bat, as well, every pitch he was fouling off, he kept staring at me and staring at me.
Then, after he did that, crossing the plate, it was a heat-of-the-moment thing. Once he went across the plate and threw that elbow at me or whatever, I was like, ‘Let’s go.'”
It’s kind of funny how Jim Joyce tossed Jorge Posada out after the incident, and at least initially attempted to get in between the two and break up the fight. But once he saw those guys were out for blood, Joyce ducked out of harm’s way and let them go at it.
Even Jim Joyce himself called Jorge Posada’s actions “unsportsmanlike” and deemed it a “cheap shot” at Jesse Carlson.
As you can clearly see, Jesse Carlson got the worst of it as he sported a huge welt on his forehead after Jorge Posada apparently landed an elbow on him. Joe Girardi was the only other person who was slightly injured, suffering a cut to his ear and above his eye.
Rumours where that it was John McDonald who dealt the blow, but Joe Girardi vehemently denied that, saying it was in fact one of his own players that accidentally clipped him in the fracas. The next day, Johnny Mac sought out the Yankees manager to clear the air and they shook hands.
Considering the number of players involved in the brawl, it’s amazing that more people didn’t get seriously hurt in that fight. Action was pretty fast and furious once Posada and Carlson started going at it and both dugouts cleared.
Shelley Duncan got right in there, as did Rod Barajas. Edwar Ramirez could be seen tugging at the straps on Rod Barajas’ catching gear, and as a member of the opposing team that’s a big no-no … even if Duncan was trying to break up the fight.
Ultimately, Jorge Posada was suspended three games and fined $3,000 dollars for his actions, while Jesse Carlson and Shelley Duncan were also handed out three game suspensions a piece.
Rod Barajas was not dinged any games, though he was fined $1,000 dollars for “verbal abuse”. Considering he really didn’t do much of anything, other than immerse himself in the scrum, the fines were somewhat bizarre.
In baseball, it’s all about “an eye for an eye”. It should have all been over after Jesse Carlson threw behind Jorge Posada. Whether it was intentional or not, the Yankees hit two of the Blue Jays batters, so it was expected that the Blue Jays would retaliate in some way.
Instead, Jorge Posada let his emotions boil over and it resulted in a rumble in the Bronx that no one will soon forget.