Punches were thrown Saturday night at Progressive Field. Cleveland Guardians All-Star third baseman José Ramírez and Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson traded punches after exchanging words following a tag play at second base. Ramírez, who slid in between Anderson’s legs, appeared to be upset with Anderson and pointed at his head, then the two squared off.
“He said he wanted to fight,” Ramírez told reporters after the game. “And if he wanted to fight, I had to defend myself.”
Both benches and bullpens emptied once Anderson and Ramírez began throwing punches, and two teams remained on the field jawing at each other for several minutes even after the punches ceased. Here’s the brawl:
Actual punches were thrown. Most baseball brawls feature a lot of standing around and maybe some shoving, but rarely punches. Anderson appeared to get the worst of it based on the fact he wound up on the ground.
“I’m not sure I know everything,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said about the brawl. “Before it started, I know Anderson was yelling at (Gabriel) Arias — I think the umpire went and told him to knock it off — and then when José slid into second, I think José felt like he kind of stood over him. Then things got away from everybody.”
Anderson and Ramírez were both ejected, as were Francona, Guardians closer Emmanuel Clase, Cleveland third base coach Mike Sarbaugh, and White Sox manager Pedro Grifol. Suspensions will surely follow. For reference, Rougned Odor was suspended eight games (reduced to seven on appeal) for punching José Bautista in 2016. Anderson and Ramírez can expect similar suspensions.
“I’m going to let MLB figure this out. They have some work to do,” Grifol said following the game. He added Anderson, who did not speak to reporters after the game, was not hurt in the brawl.
Losing Ramírez for any length of time would be a major blow to a Guardians team that doesn’t score much and is already without Josh Naylor (oblique strain). In fact, Cleveland, which was no-hit earlier in the week by the Astros, was being no-hit by Michael Kopech into the sixth inning Saturday. Andrés Giménez broke the no-hit bid up with a single, then scored on Ramírez’s double. Ramírez’s slide on the double preceded the brawl.
The White Sox won Saturday’s game 7-4. Cleveland is 54-57 and 3.5 games behind the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central. The White Sox are well out of the race at 44-68.