In the first round of Pool D action in the World Baseball Classic, Mexico and Canada came to blows in the top of the ninth inning. With Canada already leading by a score of 9-3, catcher Chris Robinson bunted for a base hit to open the inning, something that might rub a team the wrong way, during the course of a regular MLB season.
This is not the case in the WBC, where the fate of teams tied at the end of pool play is decided by a type of run-differential. Canada needed every run it could get.
Tension mounted throughout the game after a series of aggressive plays by both teams helped to create an anxious atmosphere. Mexico’s Karim Garcia bowled catcher Chris Robinson over at the plate on a throw home during the fourth inning and Canada returned the favor later in the game with a late, take-out slide at second.
After Robinson’s leadoff bunt single in the 9th, pitcher Arnold Leon buzzed Rene Tosoni once, then twice. This resulted in a warning to both benches by home plate umpire Brian Gorman. Leon ignored the warning and drilled Tosoni in the back with his next pitch.
Benches from both teams cleared and several fights spread out from a large cluster gathered near the mound. Red Sox pitcher Alfredo Aceves was seen tussling with players in one side-brawl.
Following the fight, fans of Team Mexico sitting behind the Canadian dugout were captured on camera throwing items at Canadian players. Some players retaliated by throwing items back into the crowd. Police and security were allocated to the area and several fans were escorted out of Chase Field.
HP umpire Gorman ejected Tosoni and Leon from the game. It’s likely that several suspensions will be handed down by World Baseball Classic before the night is out.