What happened between the Mets and Pirates in New York last night doesn’t qualify as a brawl or even a fracas, but it did constitute one of the silliest bench-clearings in recent memory.
In the top of the eight inning, Pirates infielder Josh Harrison slid into second to try and break up a double play. His slide went directly over the base and forced Mets second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera to make a late throw to first. The slide was clean. Cabrera wasn’t even a little bit mad about it. Pitcher Jeurys Familia, however, was mad about it, and yelled something at Harrison as he tried to leave the field:
Harrison yapped back, which got both teams out of the dugout and both bullpens emptied, and led to a ridiculous scene in which Cabrera, the guy Familia was ostensibly sticking up for, was gently hugging Harrison in order to protect him from his rowdy Mets teammates.
After the game, Harrison told reporters that Familia had told him to “play the game the right way.” “If you go back and look at the footage, I think I played the game the right way,” Harrison said. “Didn’t touch the guy, broke up a double play without hurting the guy or touching the guy. At the end of the day, I think that’s playing the game the right way.”
Between this and Hunter Strickland losing his mind over some harmless enthusiasm, it’s long past due for the angry baseball men to recalibrate their grump meters. There’s no need to live like this.