The benches cleared and the Royals weren’t exactly thrilled at the happenings.
Eric Hosmer: "We didn’t show anybody up. We scored runs. We got hits. Apparently, that’s frowned upon around here."— Rustin Dodd (@rustindodd) July 27, 2017
Heck, the Tigers weren’t all that happy.
Upton: "It was clearly a situation where he could score, and I thought he could score pretty easily."— Jason Beck (@beckjason) July 27, 2017
And even Detroit broadcasters were on the Royals side.
Bruce Rondon is an embarrassment. What a joke. Come on. Andrew Romine on mound. Low point of low season for #Tigers— Pat Caputo (@patcaputo98) July 27, 2017
So I thought it would be appropriate to put together a definitive list of the greatest fights in Royals history. I also decided to omit a certain Royals scuffle, because yelling at umpires doesn’t count as a brawl.
5. Royals at Tigers - July 27, 2017
Yeah, maybe I’m stretching here. But it’s on all of our minds right now. One of the best qualities of this group is how defensive they are of each other. If you hit a Royal, the rest of the squad is coming for you. Bruce Rondon hit Mike Moustakas. Danny Duffy was having none of that.
Danny Duffy or Stone Cold Steve Austin? pic.twitter.com/fTa31UGHze— Shaun Newkirk (@Shauncore) July 27, 2017
And it led to this beauty of a quote.
Danny Duffy on Rondon:— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) July 27, 2017
“If he doesn’t want to compete in a situation that’s not sexy, they should just send his ass home."
It was an epic pummeling of a game and an inspired fight. It probably shouldn’t be on this list, for lack of any substantial physical altercation, but aren’t most bench clearing incidents like that?
4. Royals at Yankees - October 6, 1977
If you know anything about the Royals brawling history, you know that this isn’t the last you’ll hear from this series. This particular incident took place in game two of the 1977 ALCS. The Royals were up 1-0 in the series, but entered the top of the 6th down 2-1.
George Brett, at the plate with runners on first and second with one out, hit a ground ball to third. Yankees third baseman Graig Nettles threw to second to start the double play, but Hal McRae wasn’t about to let that happen.
It is important to note that I am all for the steps Major League Baseball has taken towards making double plays safer for middle infielders. However, it doesn’t make me love this play any less. McRae’s hard slide enabled Freddie Patek to score, tying the game at 2-2, but the Royals would go on to lose the game 6-2.
You’ll see more from this series soon.
3. Royals at White Sox - April 23, 2015
Ahh, yes. The birth of The Great Cainholio! This was one of several incidents in the early goings of the 2015 season, all of which had one figure in common: The late Yordano Ventura. While Ventura’s immaturity carried over into 2016, this was the one fight that I defended Ventura’s actions. This was just as much on Adam Eaton as it was on Yordano.
Regardless of who was at fault, this was without a doubt the most eventful brawl of a brawl-laced 2015 season. “Cainholio” was born. Seven players were suspended, including Ventura, Edinson Volquez, Lorenzo Cain and Kelvin Herrera. Volquez was suspended for throwing some punches, while Cain was suspended, I guess for becoming Cainholio?
Regardless, by far the best part of this particular incident was the fact that Jarrod Dyson was in the bathroom when it all started and had to make a tardy appearance.
Remember that time Dyson was in the bathroom. pic.twitter.com/gbgglaqtPL— Maren Ludwig (@jaylaw22) July 27, 2017
I should also give the random White Sox player who fixed Cain’s jersey a quick shout out. In the midst of a heated exchange, it’s nice to know that they at least kept their decency.
2. Royals v. Tigers - August 10, 2001
This might just be my all-time favorite, but I’ll admit that I’m biased. Mike Sweeney is my all-time favorite Royals player. I grew up in the early 2000’s, so although the Royals have won a World Series and went to another on the backs of guys like Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer, I will always refer to Sweeney as my all-time favorite Royal.
Sweeney was always the squeaky clean athlete, known around the league for his niceness. So this doesn’t exactly fit his character. Also, this is the only good video I could find of this fight and I totally dig the Matt Stairs and Jeremy Affeldt cameos.
That 2001 team finished 65-97 and were 45-70 when this fight took place. This might have been the most entertaining moment of that season.
1. Royals v. Yankees - October 9, 1977
This was never really a question.
Game five of the 1977 ALCS. Winner goes to the World Series. Bottom of the first. George Brett launches an RBI triple over the head of Yankees’ center fielder Mickey Rivers to drive in Hal McRae and give the Royals an early 1-0 lead. Brett slides into third base ahead of the tag from the previously mentioned Graig Nettles. Then this happened.
There are several things to take note of here. First of all, I love George Brett. I was born the year he retired, so I never saw him play. But I grew up watching this video before Royals games on the jumbotron, set to The Boys of Summer. I loved Brett’s tenacity and despite having championships from my own lifetime to relive, I could still watch this video all day.
Secondly, was there seriously nobody ejected from this game? This series might be the personification of how different Major League Baseball was in 1977. Base runners were tackling middle infielders and punching defenders, but not getting ejected. In 2017, this gets you ejected.
The Royals went on to lose this game and the series to the Yankees, but they did so with Brett on the field and not in the locker room, where he would have been had this game taken place today.
I just can’t stop thinking about how crazy this play was. It was the first inning of a win-or-go-home game and the Royals best player was throwing haymakers. He obviously didn’t fear being ejected, because it there was one thing Brett hated more than Nettles, it was losing. If you look at the box score from this game, you wouldn’t have even known something weird went down. There isn’t even a mention of the fight in the play log, because there was nothing official to mention. No warnings, no ejections. Nothing. Just a George Brett triple.
A triple that led to the greatest fight in Royals history.