A segment on Fox Sports Midwest's pregame show highlighted some of the biggest fights in recent Cardinals history.
Of course last season's tilt with the Reds ranked as the top scuffle. We've all seen the video a hundred times of Yadier Molina taking exception with Brandon Phillips vulgar comments about St. Louis players at the dish. But I was more shocked to see the replays of some other scuffles that made the list.
I was in the stands the day that Tino Martinez and then Arizona Diamondbacks starter Miguel Batista went at it a few years back. And I guess from my perspective in the first base stands I didn't see all the details.
I knew Batista drilled Martinez in the back and that Tino charged the mound after being forced out at second base. But what I didn't notice was how high the offending pitch was thrown. It nearly caught Martinez in the head. And it had some pretty seriousl mustard on it.
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa has always been set off by hurlers that get near the head. And, with such an obviously intentional headhunting hurl on his resume, I'm a little bit surprised that the Birds even signed Batista. He doesn't really seem like a Cardinals sort of guy.
If that wasn't bad enough, another thing I didn't notice... Or maybe I just didn't remember... Is that Bautista tried the ol' throw the baseball at the player charging the mound trick, which I also find a little bit less than honorable. It's not exactly Johnny Cueto kicking defenseless players repeatedly with his spikes. But it wasn't pretty either.
The other thing that stood out about the fight reel was the intensity of the Will Clark vs. Ozzie Smith and Jose Oquendo scrum.
Usually baseball fights more closely resemble a group hug than a heavyweight title bout. From my seet in the outfield nosebleeds that day I couldn't really notice anything out of the ordinary. But seeing the fisticuffs up close, it was pretty obvious that all of the guys involved were throwing punches like they meant it.