Baseball is a non-contact sport played at such a leisurely pace at times that it’s easy to miss the animosity brewing. Pitchers who have a tendency to throw inside make sworn enemies, while hot-dogging batters “pimping” too long after a home run can make themselves unpopular around the league in a heartbeat. Major League Baseball players are known for swearing by the unwritten rules that try to prevent public humiliation and further repercussions by trading hit-batsman for hit-batsman during games or over the course of several years (seriously).
There are times when the system breaks down, leading to anarchy and what is usually a nasty brawl. In baseball, you can’t hack a player on his next layup or lay him out when he’s going down the field for a long pass. It may take months or years to retaliate against someone who wrongs you according to the code, and this may explain why baseball brawls tend to go from zero to 60 in a flash.
These days, ballplayers risk long suspensions and hefty fines for fighting between the lines, but it doesn’t seem to matter. Prohibitive penalties have not stopped some of the biggest brawls in memory from taking place in recent years. Here are the five craziest brawls between MLB players since 2010.