How should MLB handle brawls? Rizzo says 'players police themselves'

Mariners and Angels brawl

One of the biggest brawls in recent memory occurred Sunday afternoon in Anaheim, as both the benches and bullpens cleared during the second inning of Angels-Mariners. Punches were thrown from both sides, leading to ejections for several players and, later, suspensions.

On Wednesday, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo joined the Sports Junkies and after a series of questions about the team's recent pitching success, he was then asked about the Angels-Mariners brawl and if there is anything Major League Baseball can do to prevent instances like that from occurring in the future.

Rizzo opted to take the side of the players.

"I don't know what the inner workings of that thing were all about. I always say that the players take care of these things the way they take care of them," Rizzo said, before saying that outsiders who don't know the situation should refrain from commenting.

"The players police themselves," he continued. "They take care of these things and that's obviously how they felt."

Earlier this season, the Nationals and Mets both emptied their benches after Washington reliever Steve Cishek hit Francisco Lindor with a fastball near his face when he was attempting to bunt. Fortunately for both clubs, no punches were thrown and the brawl didn't nearly escalate to what happened between Seattle and LA. Cishek was eventually ejected from the game.


The Nationals' general manager made it clear that players know the consequences of engaging in brawls. MLB reviews all situations like the one Sunday in a close manner before handing out discipline, so players shouldn't expect to get away with certain actions when instances like the one in Anaheim occur.

"They look at the film. They slow it down. They know who's the ones instigating, causing the trouble and they discipline them accordingly," Rizzo said.

To conclude his opinion on the matter, Rizzo made his stance clear: it should be in the player's hands, no matter what.

"You can put as many stringent policies as you want. These things are policed by players, the way it should be," he said.