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Baseball Brawls Are As Rare As the Unassisted Triple Play

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A vicious baseball brawl is always a guilty pleasure, but, much like a Steven Seagal film festival, they’ve become harder to find.

According to the Wall Street Journal (yes, the Wall Street Journal!), the number of punches thrown in Major League Baseball fights is way down over the last year.

Benches have cleared 32 times since the start of the 2014 season, but would you believe only five punches were thrown and only one of those landed? Yep, it’s true.

And what causes the bulk of these incidents? Most (34%) stem from batters getting hit by a pitch.

So, why have full-on brawls gone the way of scheduled doubleheaders and nickel beer nights. Former major leaguer Mike Bordick has an insightful explanation, claiming players in the past may have been likely to lose their cool because of steroid use, while today they’re concerned with getting hurt and potentially losing out on big contracts:

I think the game has — I don’t want to say softened — but there’s just so much money involved and the risk of injury is so substantial.”

Orioles reliever Darren O’Day also says, “I’ve been out on the field during a heated exchange between two other guys and I’m out there talking to my buddy who I played with the year before. Like, ‘Hey man, let’s just hug it out, me and you, if this thing goes south.'”

So, while brawls may be disappearing, there is video proof they once existed. Take a look at some from years past below:

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