By Tank Spencer
Everyone loves the longball... walk-off style. That is one of the major thrills of baseball. I was lucky enough to witness a walk-off dinger by "Big Papi" David Ortiz in the 2007 season in my only trip to Fenway Park. That is a thrill I may never get to see live again. For people who don't have season tickets, it rivals the statistical probability of being struck by lightning to see something amazing such as a walk-off homer, a complete game shutout, a no-hitter and definitely a perfect game fits the category.
Another anomaly is the brawl. Some think it has no place in the game, but others love it when the emotion boils over and ignites a bench-clearing melee. Count me as part of the latter. There's something about seeing a team come together and stand up for one another when they have been "wronged."
It seems the latest lightning rod in the majors is Milwaukee outfielder Carlos Gomez. Some call it a bad attitude, but I see it more as his passion that has led to two brawls in the last 7 months. He struck a pose after a big hit vs the Pirates the other day and some jawing from the opposing team sparked a fight.
No Braves fan will forget last September when Gomez slammed a homer, flipped his bat and got some heat from Paul Maholm, Freddie Freeman and Brian McCann.
This is all sent me on a hunt for some of the best brawls in modern baseball history.
In 1984 the Braves were also involved in one of the most out of control games in history. The Braves and the Padres had 4 bench-clearing incidents in this game.
Now no one used a bat as a weapon in a brawl quite like the San Francisco Giants' Juan Marichal did in 1965 against the Dodgers' Johnny Roseboro.
As a Red Sox fan, of course two big fights the year we "Reversed The Curse" (2004) stand out. And who doesn't love seeing Alex Rodriguez get a face full of glove?
Game Three of the ALCS that year, the Sox and the Yankees went at it again. This is also one of the big reasons Joe Buck is one of my least favorite TV analysts. His "Oh My God" reaction to Don Zimmer being tossed to the ground by Pedro Martinez is just imbecilic.
1993 was the year I fell in love with the brawl. My favorite non-Red Sox player at the time (and maybe of all-time) was Nolan Ryan. In August of that year, White Sox second baseman Robin Ventura charged the mound and found out another reason for Nolan had the "Ryan Express" nickname.
In September of '93 both Sox teams faced off and watch as my favorite position player, Mo Vaughn, has his pitcher's back vs George Bell.
And probably the best fracas of recent memory was last year and the Diamondbacks and the Dodgers squared off.