This was an interesting weekend for baseball.  A brawl began between the Oakland A’s and the Houston Astros after A’s outfielder Ramon Laureano was hit twice by a pitch in a game.  Tensions get a little heated on Sunday night, and the benches were cleared as the two teams went for each other’s throats.  What penalties, if any, the MLB might produce have not yet been announced.

Tit For Tat In A’s-Astros Brawl

In the seventh inning, Laureano was hit with a pitch from Astros Humberto Castellanos; it was the second time Laureano was hit in the game and the third time in the series – perhaps payback for all the times Astros players have been “accidentally” hit by pitchers this season.  Laureano took a walk to the first base and confronted the pitcher the whole way, then, out of nowhere, he attacked the Astros dugout and sparked the brawl.

Images show that Laureano exchanged harsh words with Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron.  The coach seems to be provocative before Laureano waves him off, and then Cintron walks out of the dugout, which caused Laureano to violate his position and run toward Cintron.  Fortunately, Laureano was intercepted by former teammate Dustin Garneau.  Otherwise, an intense fight could have been started.

Due to the fight, Laureano was expelled from the game, as was A’s catcher Austin Allen.  No Astros players, nor Cintron, have received any punishment.  The Astros may be champions of the league, but they have been accused of a cheating scandal exposed during the offseason.  Some teams have tried to take revenge against the Astros for having cheated and, now, perhaps the Astros are seeking to retaliate.  Coincidentally, no Astros player was punished as a result of the cheating scandal.

Personal Vendetta?

The A’s are having a better performance than the Astros this season.  The A’s were just two innings away from a sweep when the brawl with the Astros started, which would place them 5.5 games up in the Al West division standings. Rivalry within the division can bring heated emotions or reasons to damage the rival team.

Laureano used to play with the Astros before. He was drafted by the team before being traded to the A’s and becoming a star.  Laureano was exchanged for reliever Brandon Bailey, who hit Laureano the first time in the fifth inning.  It is possible that a kind of resentment and rivalry prevails among some players.

As a rule, fights are always punished by the MLB, especially now because they violate policies concerning social distancing amid the catastrophic COVID-19 pandemic.  It is for sure that suspensions will result from this incident.  Jayson Stark of The Athletic mentioned, “Fighting and instigating fights are strictly prohibited. Players must not make physical contact with others for any reason unless it occurs in normal and permissible game action. Violations of these rules will result in severe discipline consistent with past precedent, which discipline shall not be reduced or prorated based on the length of the season.”

Suspensions Might Be Forthcoming

Laureano will almost definitely be suspended for sparking the brawl with the Astros players, and this could mean trouble for the A’s – he’s their best hitter.  The MLB office in New York will look at the video and make a decision on which suspensions will be applied.  However, players can appeal any sanctions against them.  If any baseball exiles are seen, both teams involved will have to look for replacement players.

Manager Bob Melvin is in his favor, he said, “Ramon doesn’t go over there unless something completely offensive came out of that dugout.  I think the league will know who that is, and that person should be suspended.”  According to some baseball chatter, Cintron had made some type of derogatory comment about Laureano’s mother, which is never a good idea.  Melvin said that, if Laureano is suspended, he has to follow the guidelines.  Laureano engaged in a brawl, and he has to face the consequences.