Padres vs Braves: Remembering one of the worst brawls in baseball history

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Capped by probably the biggest baseball brawl ever, between the San Diego Padres and Atlanta Braves on Sunday, August 12th, the 1984 season was the worst for fighting in more than a quarter century.

The Padres had twice beaten the second-place Braves in the weekend series and led them by 10 1/2 games in the old National League West, en route to their first World Series appearance in franchise history.

The battle in old Fulton County Stadium was like a tag-team wrestling match with 50 participants (plus coaches) instead of the customary four inside the ring.

Why did it erupt?

Oh, the usual your-guy-threw-at-my-guy retaliation, only the teams didn’t settle their scores with one brushback pitch, or even with one donnybrook. They came out of their dugouts THREE TIMES, twice for violent struggles. But some Braves fans (five of them), operating on possible alcohol ingestion and the misguided notion that this activity on the field was an invitation for audience participation, were arrested for joining in the fracas and taken off the field in handcuffs.

RELATED: Watch San Diego Padres vs Atlanta Braves: Live stream, TV channel for MLB Sunday Leadoff Game on Peacock and NBC

Understandably, the level of violence was alarming to National League President Chub Feeney. The hand of justice was most felt by San Diego Manager Dick Williams. He received a $10,000 fine and a 10-day suspension. Across the field, Atlanta Manager Joe Torre, received a $1,000 fine and three days off. A record seventeen players, a dozen of them Padres, including two acting managers, and five Braves were fined, suspended or both.

Williams, a world-class bench jockey during his playing career in the ‘50s, had admitted ordering each of his pitchers to aim for Braves starter Pascual Perez, who had opened the game by nailing leadoff man Alan Wiggins in the back with a fastball on his first pitch. In the bottom of the second inning, Perez came to bat against San Diego starter Ed Whitson. He threw behind Perez’ head with his first pitch but missed him three times. He was tossed out of the game along with Williams. Reliever Greg Booker followed and came close to hitting Perez in the fifth inning. He was also asked to remove himself from the premises.

Incredibly, it was not until Perez’ fourth at-bat that Craig Lefferts finally made contact. That eighth-inning bullseye set off the first of two bench- clearing brawls.

Lefferts told NBC at the time: “It’s unfortunate and something you hate to see happen in this game but they started it and we had to do something about it so we finished it.”

Another brawl followed in the ninth when Atlanta reliever Donnie Moore hit Graig Nettles with his second pitch, the result of their confrontation the previous inning. Padres players ejected after the first brawl returned to the field to join in the melee.

Now, have you ever heard of something like this? Braves slugger Bob Horner, watching the proceedings from the press box with a broken arm, rushed down to the clubhouse, changed into his uniform and came onto the field. Outfielder Champ Summers of the Padres spotted him and raced across the field to warn him not to get involved for his own good. Of course, other gathered around him to listen in.

The intervention of security police was all that prevented the brouhaha from becoming an all-out riot involving both teams and the fans. The ninth inning was played with both benches and bullpens cleared of personnel in their respective clubhouses, except for those due to hit, and with police lined in front of both dugouts. Braves announcer Chip Caray said on WTBS, “Welcome back to guerrilla baseball from Atlanta.”

In his postgame comments, Torre called Williams, “an idiot and you can spell that with a capital I.” Williams said he’d meet Torre anytime, anyplace to settle matters.

RELATED: Mr. Stats Notes: Manny Machado the key to victory for Padres in 2022

“I’ve never seen violence like that. It’s a miracle somebody didn’t get seriously hurt. It took baseball down 50 years,” umpiring crew chief John McSherry told the Atlanta Constitution at the time. Just a few days earlier, McSherry had refereed a brawl between the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets at Wrigley Field. “It was the worst thing I have ever seen in my life. It was pathetic, absolutely pathetic.”

Oh, a footnote: Atlanta won the game 5-3 and Pascual Perez, who was never ejected, got the win.

Could this happen in today’s game? Tim Flannery, the former Padres infielder who later won three rings on Bruce Bochy’s coaching staff at San Francisco, thinks not.

“You know, it’s funny, that fight comes up every year near the anniversary in August,” Flannery said. “It’s so different today. It’s hard for today’s players to understand. They’ve sanitized the game with no collisions at second base and at home and bigger bases.”

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Flannery made one other point.

“When you look back on the ‘80s, teams stayed together. Players didn’t jump around from team to team nearly as much. Now, a team has a bad year and a player says I want out. The commitment is different today.”

With that in mind for today’s game, it’s hard to imagine anything resembling what took place on Sunday, August 12, 1984 in Atlanta.

I went to the archives for this piece – thanks in part to the Society for American Baseball Research.

Mr. Stats’ Notes: Playoff picture starts to take focus

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This is the time of year that baseball turns from a marathon to a sprint. The Toronto Blue Jays are steps ahead of other teams for a spot in the postseason. Toronto finished one game out of the playoffs a year ago. Will this year be different?

On Sunday, in a game streamed on Peacock beginning at 12 pm eastern, the Blue Jays will play the Pittsburgh Pirates.

In 2021, the Jays finished one game behind the Yankees for the Wild Card; and 39 games better than the division rival Orioles. Can Baltimore pass Toronto in the final weeks to nab the third and final Wild Card?

It’s time to sharpen up the predictions to pick out some potential October matchups and storylines.

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Wouldn’t it be something if…the Pittsburgh Pirates win the World Series?

Well, not the 2022 Pirates.  But several former Pirates.

The 2017 Pirates team had Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon in their starting rotation. By 2018, Cole was gone but Clay Holmes was in the Bucs pen.  If the New York Yankees win the 2022 World Series, it will almost certainly be with heavy lifting being done by Cole, Taillon, and Holmes. Jameson (12-4, 3.97) leads the Yankees in wins. Cole is their ace. Holmes should be the closer.

And if the New York Mets win the World Series this year, they will lean heavily on two other Pirates from those Clint Hurdle-managed teams. The Mets don’t hurdle through the National League without Starling Marte and, to a lesser degree, Trevor Williams.  Marte is slashing .309/.359/.511 with 41 extra-base hits in 93 games since May 1, and for the season his bWAR is 3.7. Williams, meanwhile, has not allowed a run in a career-high 24.0 straight innings. Trevor has a 0.88 WHIP, a .190 opponent’s average and a .483 opponent’s OPS during that span.

Pittsburgh fans can find someone to root for even if the San Diego Padres win the World Series (Joe Musgrove), or the Atlanta Braves (Charlie Morton) repeat.

2022 MLB on Peacock schedule: How to watch, live stream Sunday morning baseball games online

Wouldn’t it be something if…the Cardinals beat the Mets in the postseason (with Adam Wainwright getting the final outs)?

In 2006, the Mets won 97 games. The Cardinals won 83 games. But the two teams met in the NLCS, and in Game 7, the Cards had a 3-1 lead entering the bottom of the ninth. Rookie Adam Wainwright closed it out, slamming the door and eliminating the Mets by striking out Carlos Beltran with the bases loaded to end the game.

Wouldn’t it be something if all these years later, the Cardinals once again eliminated the heavily-favored Mets in the deciding game with Wainwright (9-9, 3.09) on the mound!

And if that happened…

Wouldn’t it be something if…the Cardinals beat the Yankees in the World Series (with Jordan Montgomery eliminating his former team)?

Jordan Montgomery was traded from the Yankees to the Cardinals in exchange for Harrison Bader. Montgomery, in his first five starts for St. Louis, is 4-0, with 1.76 ERA and a WHIP of 0.815. How great would it be for Monty, who started the season as the Yankees’ No. 3 starter, eliminates New York.

Of course, October is a long way away. Perhaps Harrison Bader will run down a long blast by Nolan Arenado or Paul Goldschmidt to save a game for the Yankees.

I know what you’re thinking. Even if the Cardinals make the World Series, the Yankees may fall in the ALCS to the Astros. And if that were the case…

RELATED: Does Pujols deserve more respect?

Wouldn’t it be something if…the Cardinals and Astros meet in the World Series, a rematch of the 2004 NLCS (when St. Louis won) and the 2005 NLCS (when Houston won)?

Albert Pujols was the MVP of the 2004 NLCS versus the Houston Astros. Albert batted .500 (14-28 AB) with 1.000 SLG, 1.563 OPS, and 4 HR in the series! Imagine if he has a surge in the very late stages of his career. In the 2005 series, he hit a ninth-inning blast off Brad Lidge that’s a signature highlight in a career full of them.

I know, the Cardinals are a long shot. The Mets have a much better chance of reaching the World Series. So:

Wouldn’t it be something if…Buck Showalter finally makes the World Series in his 21st year as a Major League manager…and loses the Series when the Yankees bring in a reliever named (check notes…) Zack Britton to slam the door on Buck’s Mets?

Well before Timmy Trumpet, Showalter once had an elite reliever in his stint with the Orioles, Zack Britton. In 2016, Britton saved 47 games in 47 save opportunities. The Orioles won 89 games in 2016, and played in the one-game Wild Card in Toronto. The elimination game was tied 2-2 after five innings. And six innings. And seven innings. And eight innings. And nine innings. And ten innings. Buck kept waiting for his Birds to score a run, to bring in the great Britton to close out the Jays. Trouble is, he never did get Zack into the game, and eventually Ubaldo Jimenez lost the game for Buck in the 11th.

Just a thought. If there’s an opportunity to get Edwin Diaz late in a tie game on the road, do it. If you go down, go down with your best.

RELATED: Rogers: Mets are ‘built for postseason’

Wouldn’t it be something if Buck Showalter finally makes it to the World Series against the Astros and Dusty Baker? One of them has to win, right? Please tell me someone has to win.

Is it even remotely possible that Dusty’s team blows another series lead? Baker shouldn’t have lost the 2002 World Series to the Angels, or the 2021 World Series to the Braves. He shouldn’t have blown a 2-0 series lead to the Giants in a 2012 best-of-five series. He shouldn’t have blown a three-run lead with five outs to go in Game 7 of a 2003 series to the Marlins. And only Dusty — poor Dusty — can have a lead after four innings of a winner-take-all game, bring in Max Scherzer — and still lose the game and series, as Dusty’s Nats did against the Cubs in 2017.

Wouldn’t it be something if the 2022 World Series were a rematch of the 2017 World Series? Only this time, Clayton Kershaw pitches on a level playing field, if you know what I mean. Man, it would be great to see Clayton start a game in Houston.

Remember what happened when Kershaw started Game 5 of the ’17 series in Houston? Clayton was unhittable in Game 1 of that series at Dodger Stadium; but in Game 5, Kershaw blew a 4-0 lead in the fourth inning, and a 7-4 lead in the bottom of the fifth.

I know Kershaw found redemption in the 2020 World Series in Arlington, Texas against Tampa Bay. But I want more. I want Clayton to shut down Altuve, Bregman, and Gurriel in Houston. In a World Series. Wouldn’t that be something?

And if the Astros defeated the Dodgers, I would feel so glad for Dusty Baker, who would have a World Series championship as a player for the Dodgers (in 1981) and as a manager against the Dodgers (41 years later, in 2022).

RELATED: Astros ace Justin Verlander placed on IL with calf injury

Wouldn’t it be something if someone other than the Astros or Yankees made the World Series?  Wouldn’t it be something if the Mariners defeated the Yankees?

Time for a little history lesson. In 2001, the Mariners had a historic regular season, winning 116 games. But they lost the ALCS to the Yankees in five games. In Game 5 at Yankee Stadium, with the Yankees blowing out Seattle 9-0 and eventually eliminating them 12-3, the Bronx crowd chanted “Over-rated” at the Mariners.

Classy, I know. But wouldn’t it be something if the tides were reversed a generation later, and the heavily-favored Yankees fell in Seattle, with the Pacific Northwest crowd serenading the Yankees with the “over-rated” chant?

Wouldn’t it be something if…Rays manager Kevin Cash refuses to take out a starting pitcher that is on his game?

Wouldn’t it be something if…Bryce Harper finally was part of a winning playoff series? Harper appeared been in four Division Series as a member of the Nationals, and lost all four. 

Wouldn’t it be something if…Francisco Lindor makes the World Series against his former Cleveland team and manager Terry Francona?

As the rock group Green Day sang, “Wake Me Up When September Ends.”

MLB schedule 2022: Every Sunday morning baseball game on Peacock, matchups, what to know

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Sunday baseball is officially coming to Peacock this May! 18 MLB games will be featured on the streaming service starting with the Chicago White Sox vs. Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park on Sunday, May 8 at 11:30 p.m. ET. See below for the full Sunday baseball on Peacock schedule.

Sunday Baseball on Peacock schedule

Date Time Matchup
May 8 11:30 a.m. ET Chicago White Sox at Boston Red Sox
May 15 11:30 a.m. ET San Diego Padres at Atlanta Braves
May 22 11:30 a.m. ET St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates
May 29 11:30 a.m. ET San Francisco Giants at Cincinnati Reds
June 5 11:30 a.m. ET Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees
June 12 11:30 a.m. ET Oakland Athletics at Cleveland Guardians
June 19 Noon ET Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals
June 26 Noon ET New York Mets at Miami Marlins
July 3 Noon ET Kansas City Royals at Detroit Tigers
July 10 Noon ET Los Angeles Angels at Baltimore Orioles
July 17 Noon ET Kansas City Royals at Toronto Blue Jays
July 24 Noon ET Chicago Cubs at Philadelphia Phillies
July 31 Noon ET Detroit Tigers at Toronto Blue Jays
August 7 Noon ET Houston Astros at Cleveland Guardians
August 14 Noon ET San Diego Padres at Washington Nationals
August 21 Noon ET Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Guardians
August 28 Noon ET Los Angeles Dodgers at Miami Marlins
September 4 Noon ET Toronto Blue Jays at Pittsburgh Pirates

How to watch the MLB on Peacock                              

Baseball is back and for the first time ever MLB games are coming to Peacock this May, featuring a total of 18 Sunday match ups. Click here to sign up for Peacock and watch MLB games live on Sunday mornings!

The first MLB game on Peacock will take place on Sunday, May 8 at 11:30 a.m. ET as the Chicago White Sox battle it out with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. The game will also be available on the NBC broadcast network.

In addition to MLB games, Peacock will also feature a new MLB hub which will include access to highlight packages and award-winning documentaries from the MLB Film & Video Archive.

Opening Day for the 2022 MLB season takes place on Thursday, April 7 and the league will stick to its original slate of 162 games despite a 99-day-lockout. For more on the 2022 MLB season click here.

See below for additional information on how to watch MLB on Peacock.

How can I watch baseball on Peacock and what devices are compatible?

Peacock is currently available on the Roku platform; Amazon FireTV and Fire tablets; Apple devices including iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD; Google platforms and devices including Android™, Android TV™ devices, Chromecast and Chromecast built-in devices;  Microsoft’s Xbox One family of devices, including Xbox One S and Xbox One X; Sony PlayStation4 and PlayStation 4 Pro; Samsung Smart TVs; VIZIO SmartCast™ TVs; LG Smart TVs; Comcast’s entertainment platforms including Xfinity X1, Xfinity Flex, and XClass TV; and Cox’s Contour and Contour Stream Player devices. To learn more about Peacock and how to sign up, visit PeacockTV.com.