One of the longest-running, bitterest rivalries in American sport, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox indulged a full-on bench-clearing brawl in Fenway Park last night.
With the Red Sox enjoying a nine-game winning streak coming into the game, the Yankees would scupper that run before it could reach double-figures.
Before that could happen though, the Yankees' Tyler Austin took serious exception to a pitch from Joe Kelly that struck him hard on the torso.
Flinging his bat down, the menace with which Austin then approached the mound left few in any doubt that he wanted more than a strong word with the pitcher.
Sure enough, almost every member of the playing-staff could read those signals clearly also. Thus ensued the following scenes.
Benches clear, punches thrown in Yankees-Red Sox after Tyler Austin is hit by a pitch from Joe Kelly. pic.twitter.com/wvqoak8QMV
— MLB (@MLB) April 12, 2018
In the wake of this incident, the Yankees general manager Brian Cashman erred on the opinion that "there was no reason for fisticuffs," but, when "two competitive teams [are] going at it, stuff happens."
With this scene quietly escalating throughout a fraught encounter, Kelly reflected on the incident with a certain degree of defiance:
I was ready to defend myself. Someone comes on my property and in my backyard – I’ve got two dogs and if you come on my property and I feel like I was getting attacked then I’m going to have to defend myself.