Back in June, 2008, James Shields plunked Coco Crisp after Crisp had slid a little too hard into second base in a previous game and then mouthed-off about the incident.

In an interview with David Laurila of Baseball Prospectus, Crisp offers a rare insight into the makings of a baseball brawl and the events that led up to it.

Crisp seems to blame the entire situation on Jason Bartlett who blocked second base with his knee, breaking an “unwritten rule.” But more importantly — and this shows just how nuts Crisp is — Crisp was apparently most upset about what happened when he got up and yelled at Bartlett…

So I got up and had some choice words for Jason Bartlett. He didn’t even look at me…My next at-bat, I get up and I’m like “I don’t care how I get on, but I’ve got to get on.” If he covered the bag, I wasn’t going to slide. I was going to do the dirty, you know, take him out. He didn’t want to say anything to me, fine. You play it dirty, I can play it dirty too. You’ve got to nip stuff right in the bud when it happens.

He then goes on to describe the brawl in great detail, even noting who did what in the scrum…

James Shields: Shields turns back around and throws a second punch, which was aimed for my chin, which was probably going to be a pretty good shot, but I put my chin down and he hit me in my chest.

Jonny GomesGomes came over the top swinging, but he didn’t even hit me, I don’t think. He hit Navarro most of the time.

Aki IwamuraIwamura, who I took out, came in and threw like a little bitty punch, but it was one of those unsure ones, like “Ah, I don’t really want to hit him, but I’ll throw one anyway.”

Carl CrawfordWhat surprised me was Carl Crawford. He slid in there and hit me three times on top of my head, like pow, pow, pow, and he was pulling my braids and scratching my eyes.

What is interesting about this, besides the brutal honesty, is how, even using Crisp’s words, we can’t help but see how he clearly escalated a situation that didn’t need to be escalated.

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9 Comments

  1. Carey says:

    Why is it an "unwritten rule" that you don't block the bag with your knee? How is that dirty?

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      This is one of the "unwritten rules" that is only a rule for some players. Some think you can hurt a baserunner that slides headfirst (possibly injuring a finger or wrist). Most would say it is not an "unwritten rule" but that it is just not a good idea. If you don't like a player blocking the bag, the cure is to just slide feet first next time. If you come in spikes first, the middle infielder will think twice before blocking the bag next time. Crisp is one of the few that thinks the foul is so heinous that it required a stiffer punishment.

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      • Namirsolo says:

        What's funny about this situation to me is that the reason Crisp got thrown at is that, instead of getting Bartlett back, he took out Aki. What an idiot, if he couldn't tell the difference between the two.

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    • Brad says:

      I didn't even play that much baseball (only through high school) but everyone is well aware that you don't block the bag with your knee, foot, etc. It is an unwritten rule.

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      • Cork Gaines says:

        i think there is a difference between "unwritten rules" and things that just arent good ideas. I played in college, and I think this is the latter. If a guy blocked a bag, the next time you went feet first to remind him it is not a good idea. I dont think very many players would enforce it the way Crisp did. Nor do I think somebody is going to put a pitch in somebody's ribs if this happened.

        If you want to say there are degrees of "unwritten rules," that's fine. But this is far from the worst offense somebody can commit.

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  2. Hosstyle in Tampa says:

    ...And then Coco got run over by the Mariners mascot after he was traded to the obscurity that is west coast baseball.

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  3. Hosstyle in Tampa says:

    Coco Crips is the baseball equivalent of Cortland Finnegan....just not as good.

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  4. Beth says:

    I still can't see that photo without cringing. What if Crisp hadn't ducked and Shields had connected, hard, with his head? I don't much care what would have happened to Coco's face, but Shields could certainly have broken a few fingers.

    I hope the coaching staff can at least teach their pitchers not to punch with their pitching hand.

    Also, I love Crisp's complaint that Bartlett didn't say anything to him. Who knew that silence was a new form of trash talking?

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  5. Sublime says:

    "Carl Crawford: What surprised me was Carl Crawford. He slid in there and hit me three times on top of my head, like pow, pow, pow, and he was pulling my braids and scratching my eyes"

    Hilarious!

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