The box score doesn’t tell the whole story. Statisticians point to numbers to evaluate players, but it’s impossible to get a sense of the game just by looking at newspaper clippings. August 5, 2011 was a perfect example: the Phillies demolished the San Francisco Giants 9-2, but the story line was much greater.
Being on opposite coasts, the Phillies and Giants aren’t known for a rivalry, but they shared some tension over the last couple years. Jonathan Sanchez and Chase Utley exchanged words on multiple occasions. Charlie Manuel proclaimed the Giants pitching staff “good, but not great.” A new dimension evolved when the benches cleared in the sixth inning of a blowout game.
Giants pitcher Ramon Ramirez threw at Shane Victorino, who homered early on in the game. The Phillies already had a significant lead as the plunking appeared intentional. Victorino took a few steps towards Ramirez, who was ready to fight. Victorino was held back by the home plate umpire and started to back off, but catcher Eli Whiteside had a brawl on his mind. Still in full catcher’s gear, Whiteside initially wanted to go after Victorino, but instead tackled Placido Polanco.
The benches cleared, turning into a lot of pushing and shoving. Victorino was restrained, but went to find Ramirez as soon as he broke lose. Victorino ended up tackling a Giants player. After things settled down and the players returned to their benches, Victorino, Ramirez, and Whiteside were ejected. A few days later, controversy sparked as Victorino was the lone player to receive a suspension.
August 5, 2011 won’t be remembered for John Mayberry Jr.’s home run, Jimmy Rollins’ two runs batted in, Vance Worley’s seven strong innings, or the Phillies eighth consecutive win. The brawl between the orange and red will be remembered instead.