The Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners created fireworks of their own in the second inning of Sunday’s game with a bench-clearing brawl that resulted in a bevy of suspensions on both sides.
Aside from accusations made by both clubs as to why the incident occurred in the first place, the teams will now have to navigate without key pieces. But a silver lining is a unification of the Angels clubhouse that was desperately needed.
Since the Angels were hurtling toward a black hole of losses and set a franchise record in doing so, they’ve lacked that singular moment to set them on a new course, but this incident with the Mariners could be a minor turning point, via Sam Blum of The Athletic:
“I think it flips a switch for us,” Andrew Wantz told reporters the day before he was suspended three games for throwing the pitches that led to the brawl. “I think it shows that, you know, we stick together and when we play as a team, good things happen.”
Angels manager Phil Nevin received a 10-game suspension for Wantz throwing at Mariners outfielder Jesse Winker, and much of the blame seems to be geared toward, premeditated retaliation, which is the reasoning for such a lengthy decision per Major League Baseball.
This brawl was followed up with a 2-1 comeback win over the Mariners which showed a bit of the internal fight and gritty attitude they’ve severely been missing:
“We are a family. That’s going to help us to be more united,” Raisel Iglesias said hours after launching a basket of sunflower seeds onto the field after learning he was ejected. “We’re going to be for sure playing better and fighting every single game so we can make it to the playoffs.”
Other Angels to receive suspensions, are Anthony Rendon (five games), assistant pitching coach Dom Chiti (five games), Wantz (three games), Ryan Tepera (three games), Raisel Iglesias (two games), bench coach Ray Montgomery (two games), interpreter Manny Del Campo (two games), and catching coach Bill Haselman (one game).
Nevin, Chiti, and Del Campo will begin serving their suspensions tonight. Montgomery and Haselman will both serve when Chiti returns. Rendon will not be allowed in the dugout for the next seven games, but his suspension will not begin until he returns from the injured list in 2023.
Why tension’s were high leading to brawl
The issues stem from Saturday’s contest when Mariners reliever Erik Swanson narrowly missed hitting Mike Trout in the head in the ninth inning. The Angels took exception to that after Trout’s recent success against Seattle, and tensions were high because of the dangerous nature of pitches thrown at the head.
However, umpires didn’t see any reason to raise a red flag following the pitch to Trout, but the immediate actions during Sunday’s game were enough to draw some attention.
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