It was June 11, 2013, and the Arizona Diamondbacks were a first-place NL West team looking to knock off the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
It was also the date of one of the more infamous fights in D-backs history.
Who started it? That is up for debate, but what we know for sure is D-backs pitcher Ian Kennedy hit Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig in the face with a pitch in the sixth inning, and then the following frame Dodgers hurler Zack Greinke plunked Arizona catcher Miguel Montero.
The benches cleared at that point and some words were exchanged, but for the most part, nothing really happened.
Then in the bottom of the seventh Kennedy hit Greinke with a high pitch, and all hell broke loose.
In terms of baseball fights, it was a doozy, as evidenced by the fallout from the evening’s events.
A few years later, in the aftermath of the big-time fight between the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers, ESPN’s David Schoenfield ranked the 10 best basebrawls, and the Arizona tilt with Los Angeles came in at No. 6.
Yasiel Puig — just up from the minors a week before — gets hit in the head or the nose or near the nose or maybe the eyelashes, so Zack Greinke plunks Miguel Montero in the back. Ian Kennedy then throws at Greinke’s head. What makes this one so fascinating is the Mark McGwire-Matt Williams coaching standoff, managers Don Mattingly and Kirk Gibson hurling insults, and Diamondbacks coach Don Baylor still looking like the baddest dude on the field. Hey, it’s not their fault: They were products of the 1980s. Teams fought all the time back then!
While no one knew it at the time, the fight ended up being a bit of a turning point for each team that season. The D-backs entered the game with a 36-28 record and held a lead until the bean balls started flying, but lost the game and finished the season with an 81-81 record.
The Dodgers, on the other hand, were 27-36 going into that night, but went on to finish with a 92-70 mark to claim the NL West crown.