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Pirates have an anger problem

Pittsburgh Pirates  v Cincinnati Reds

CINCINNATI, OHIO - JULY 30: Yasiel Puig #66 of the Cincinnati Reds is restrained during a bench clearing altercation in the 9th inning of the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park on July 30, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Tuesday night’s benches-clearing brawl between the Pirates and Reds was not the first time this year that the two clubs had a disagreement. In April, the Pirates didn’t like that Derek Dietrich admired his home run, so Chris Archer threw behind Dietrich the next time he came to the plate. The benches emptied, leading to one of the best baseball pictures ever taken:

The two incidents are actually part of a longer trend for the Pirates in which their thirst for revenge has escalated into benches-clearing incidents. Here’s a likely incomplete list of benches-clearing incidents involving the Pirates dating back to 2015. Each date links to a post we wrote about the incident so you can read the whole story.

August 2, 2015

September 25, 2016

June 14, 2017

May 30, 2018

June 26, 2018

April 7, 2019

June 10, 2019

July 30, 2019

I searched the posts we’ve made here since the start of the 2015 regular season, using the phrases “benches clear,” “benches empty,” and “tempers flare,” which are common phrases used for such incidents. With the usual disclaimer that this is very likely an incomplete list based on an incomplete methodology, I was able to find 45 benches-clearing incidents over the last five years. The Pirates were involved in nine of them -- 20 percent. The Rangers have been involved in eight such incidents, followed by the Cubs and Giants at 7, and the Royals at six. If you set the cutoff arbitrarily to May 30, 2018, the Pirates have been involved in five of 14 incidents (~36 percent).

Here’s my data set, sorted from most recent to oldest, for those of you who are curious:

July 30, 2019RedsPirates
July 28, 2019AthleticsRangers
June 29, 2019RedsCubs
June 25, 2019CubsBraves
June 10, 2019BravesPirates
April 27, 2019PiratesReds
April 17, 2019White SoxRoyals
October 17, 2018DodgersBrewersNLCS Game 4
September 9, 2018BrewersGiants
August 15, 2018BravesMarlins
August 15, 2018DodgersGiants
June 26, 2018MetsPirates
June 2, 2018AngelsRangers
May 30, 2018PiratesCubs
May 19, 2018RedsCubs
April 29, 2018RoyalsWhite Sox
April 11, 2018Red SoxYankeesBenches emptied twice
April 11, 2018RockiesPadres
April 8, 2018CardinalsDiamondbacks
August 24, 2017TigersYankees
June 14, 2017PiratesRockies
May 29, 2017GiantsNationals
May 17, 2017GiantsDodgers
May 1, 2017AstrosRangers
April 22, 2017TwinsTigers
September 26, 2016Blue JaysYankees
September 25, 2016PiratesNationals
September 15, 2016BravesMarlins
August 3, 2016YankeesMets
July 7, 2016CubsBraves
May 15, 2016RangersBlue Jays
April 21, 2016DiamondbacksGiants
October 9, 2015Blue JaysRangers
October 7, 2015PiratesCubsNL Wild Card Game
August 25, 2015YankeesAstros
August 2, 2015RedsPirates
August 2, 2015Blue JaysRoyals
July 31, 2015RangersGiants
July 22, 2015PadresGiants
July 19, 2015AstrosRangers
June 3, 2015MarlinsCubs
May 9, 2015RaysRangers
April 23, 2015White SoxRoyals
April 19, 2015RoyalsAthletics
April 12, 2015AngelsRoyals

Speaking to the media, including The Athletic’s C. Trent Rosecrans, Reds manager David Bell said of the Pirates’ revenge-seeking ways, “It’s a shame that is allowed, and they’re able to get away with it. They celebrate it. They support. They clearly allow it. I don’t know if they teach, but they allow it. It’s dangerous.” Asked if his comment included Pirates skipper Clint Hurdle, Bell said, “He’s the manager. That has been going on all year. It’s bigger than baseball at this point. People you care about, their health is put jeopardy and nothing is done about it. We suffer for it.”

Pointing out the Pirates’ frequent involvement is not to excuse the behavior of any of their opponents, including Amir Garrett. Garrett, who took responsibility for his actions after Tuesday’s game, should be fined and suspended by Major League Baseball, as should Kela, Hughes, and Puig at minimum. Though other players may be guilty of their own immoral actions, the Pirates have a clear history of instigating and exacerbating conflicts with other teams. It’s worth keeping an eye on going forward, holding Hurdle and his players responsible.

Follow @Baer_Bill