When Robin Met Nolan

One of the best things about baseball is that there seems to be a code of conduct among its players. When etiquette is breached, group discussions and maybe fisticuffs break out if those with grievances feel so inclined. Even when there is disorder, there is an order to things.

This was the case in San Francisco this past Monday. Bryce Harper of the Nationals was hit by a Hunter Strickland pitch, and charged the mound with not so good tidings. Punches were exchanged, benches and bullpens emptied, and fun was had, depending on your definition of fun.

My favorite baseball fight? Not even close.

That honor belongs to a fight in 1993 at Arlington between the Rangers and White Sox. Robin Ventura had been plunked by Nolan Ryan, and went to the mound to confront the legendary pitcher. Some must have thought Nolan was going to end up on the losing end of the fight as young buck Ventura made his approach.

Mike Tyson once said everyone has a plan until they get hit. Nolan had no need for such a plan, as he grabbed Ventura’s head, locked it up with one arm while peppering Robin with punches with the other hand until reinforcements from each team arrived. The umpires must have been impressed with Ryan’s piece of pugilistic work, as they didn’t eject Nolan from the game (but ejected Ventura), much to Chicago’s dismay.

To me, that’s impressive. Not only standing your ground, but NOT getting ejected as a bonus. If Nolan ever gets tried of the business of baseball, he could always run a self-defense course, I suppose.

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