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Benches clear in a spring training game because of a simple strikeout

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Benches cleared between the Phillies and Pirates because of a perceived slight ... in a spring training game.

Fans at the Grapefruit League matchup between the Phillies and Pirates on Monday were treated to a rare spring sight after the benches emptied and two coaches were ejected during Pittsburgh's 18-4 win.

Despite the heated tensions between the two sides, no punches were thrown. In fact, the incident stemmed not from any chin music by Phillies pitcher Kevin Slowey, but rather what Pirates infielder Sean Rodriguez perceived as a quick-pitch on the part of Slowey after striking out during a fourth-inning plate appearance.

Apparently, Rodriguez thought he called time, yet home plate umpire Chad Fairchild never awarded it, and Slowey soon threw a pitch right by an unsuspecting Rodriguez for strike three.

On his long walk back to the dugout, Rodriguez yelled at Slowey, and Fairchild had to separate the two players before the inning resumed. Clearly, that wasn't enough for Rodriguez, who berated Slowey once again when the veteran right-hander took the mound to begin the fifth inning.

As baseball players are compelled to do, the benches then cleared, and two coaches—but neither Rodriguez nor Slowey—were sent to the showers early. Phillies first base coach Juan Samuel and Pirates third base coach Rick Sofield were both ejected as tensions ran high.

Perhaps the players are growing bored with the lazy nature of spring training action and need a little excitement in their lives.

Slowey himself didn't even realize who Rodriguez was yelling at to begin with and still seemed a little confused following the game.

"It surprises me he was that upset, and challenging somebody to a physical altercation hardly seems like the best way to resolve your frustrations," Slowey told Todd Zolecki of The 30-year-old even turned a little philosophical in trying to understand Rodriguez's anger.

"I guess I understand the frustration of a singular failure. It's a game of failures."

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle didn't have much in the way of an explanation for the incident either.

"The umpires don't have to give you time," Hurdle said after the game. "I'm not here to be judge or jury. We'll talk about it internally, about how we can do a better job of not letting it happen again, or what we'll do if it does happen again."

Rodriguez certainly picked an interesting way to impress his new teammates after signing a contract with the Pirates following seven seasons with the Angels and Rays.

Chalk it up to a random bout of rage, the high stakes of a simmering in-state rivalry spilling over or the notion that Slowey did quick-pitch Rodriguez.

No matter what, we can all agree it's time for the season to begin.


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