In the professional sports pecking order of brawling ability, baseball players fall somewhere ahead of curlers but far behind any of the real sports. They barely pack a decent push, let alone a punch.
Of course, there are exceptions and now two of them have been thrown into the most heated rivalry in all of sports, Red Sox and Yankees.
With Julian Tavarez on the Sox and Kyle Farnsworth in pinstripes, the opportunities for the best post-Zimmer on his ass brawl between the two teams seem endless. The remote possibility of watching two pitchers that can throw down going at it is reason enough to tune in.
I can’t tell you how much I hope we see this happen this year. Picture the scene. A-Rod yelling at Varitek, Wells fraternizing with Jeter, Manny thumb wrestling Damon, and two warriors battling to the death in the middle.
The best part is Tavarez and Farnsworth have two very contrasting styles that could help everyone decide the age old question: street fighter or wrestler?
Tavarez is the former. Just yesterday he threw a nice sucker-haymaker at Tampa Bay’s Joey Gathright, while Gathright was on one knee. The punch knocked his helmet off but no further damage was done.
When Major League Baseball suspends him, it will be the fourth time he has been disciplined for fighting. He has also been suspended for cheating.
In 2001, the Giants’ Russ Davis charged at Tavarez and was greeted with a Jackie Chan-esque kick and was suspended and forced to take sensitivity classes. Sometime after the suspension, Tavarez pointed out that all Giants fans were gay.
The pitcher has gone at it with the Devil Rays before and has fought Mike Matheny. Apparently, Tavarez also has an affinity for head hunting, though he usually misses. Among those he has tried to kill are Matheny and the Houston Astros’ Jeff Bagwell.
Farnsworth happens to beat more of a tackle, take it to the ground and choke you out type of guy. He would probably do well in the UFC.
Forget that he has thrown 101 MPH; Farnsworth is known for laying out Cincinnati Reds’ pitcher Paul Wilson in 2003. A highlight that anyone who watches ESPN has seen 20 times, Farnsworth slowly walked toward the charging Wilson and proceeded to treat him the way Ray Lewis might treat a high schooler going across the middle. Last season, he did the same to the much smaller Kansas City Royals’ pitcher Jeremy Affeldt.
So who wins?
I’m taking Tavarez. He has actually fought athletes, not just pitchers the way Farnsworth has done. It would be very close. Obviously, if Farnsworth takes it to the ground, my pick might be in trouble. If that happened, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Farnsworth take a little pine tar to the face, blinding him just enough for Tavarez to judo chop his way to victory.