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Top 10 Baseball Freak-Outs

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp

Script written by Nathan Sharp

Think baseball is slow-paced or repetitive? These clips prove otherwise. From Nolan Ryan vs. Robin Ventura, to Tommy Lasorda vs. the Phillie Phanatic, to Jonathan Papelbon Attacking Bryce Harper, these meltdowns and fights are sometimes hilarious, sometimes terrifying. WatchMojo counts down ten baseball freakouts.

Special thanks to our user drewbrown for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Baseball+Freak-Outs.


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Script written by Nathan Sharp

Top 10 Baseball Freak-Outs

Think baseball is slow-paced or repetitive? These clips prove otherwise. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top ten baseball freak-outs.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the funniest, most shocking and/or notable freak-outs in baseball history. We’ll only be including clips from the MLB, so the minors won’t be included, despite having some historic freak-outs of their own.

#10: Nolan Ryan vs. Robin Ventura

Seemingly intentional hits are always good for a bench-clearing. August 4th, 1993 will be a day that lives in baseball history, as that was the day of the famous Ventura-Ryan bout. In the third inning, pitcher Nolan Ryan pegged Robin Ventura in the elbow, causing Ventura to charge the mound. Nolan then put Ventura in a headlock and beat the snot out of him before the benches cleared and all hell broke loose. It’s one of baseball’s most famous brawls, and the image of the 46-year-old Ryan holding Ventura in a headlock remains one of baseball’s most iconic images.

#9: Billy Martin Throws Dirt at the Umpire

Well, that’s one way to get yourself in serious trouble. Yankees’ manager Billy Martin was known for his temper and volatile personality, and that was on full display on May 30th, 1988 during a game against the Oakland Athletics. A call was made that Martin didn’t agree with, causing him to charge the field and vehemently argue with the umpires. After being ejected, Martin kicked dirt on the umpire’s shoes and even tossed a handful at his chest. Physically confronting the umpires is a big no-no in baseball, and this incident resulted in a three-game suspension and $1,000 fine for the Yankees’ manager.

#8: Tommy Lasorda vs. the Phillie Phanatic

It seems like Dodgers’ manager Tommy Lasorda doesn’t like mascots very much. If he’s not getting former Montreal Expos’ mascot Youppi tossed from a game for sitting on his dugout, he’s beating up the beloved Phillie Phanatic. After the Phanatic taunted Lasorda with a stuffed mannequin of himself in August 1988, Lasorda charged at the character, knocked him over and smacked him with the mannequin before angrily storming off. It’s one of baseball’s most surreal images, and is arguably Lasorda’s most iconic moment, which is really saying something. These were the days when managers could really let loose and put on a good show. If this happened today, Lasorda would be in for a world of trouble.

#7: Roger Clemens Throws a Broken Bat at Mike Piazza

The World Series is a time of tension and high stress for all players involved, but it doesn’t excuse bad behavior. In game 2 of the 2000 World Series, a piece of Piazza’s broken bat made its way over to Clemens. Perhaps seeing it as an act of aggression, Clemens threw the jagged, sharp piece of wood back at Piazza as he ran towards first, causing the benches to clear. Clemens would later say that his energy and excitement made him initially believe that the bat was the ball, and that he was never aiming at Piazza. Suffice it to say, people were skeptical of this explanation.

#6: Jonathan Papelbon Attacks Bryce Harper

There’s arguing with a teammate over a questionable decision… and then there’s blatantly attacking them and putting them in a chokehold. Bryce Harper has given us many dramatic moments throughout the years, and while Harper charging Hunter Strickland is a notable freak-out, the famous Papelbon debacle is the one that makes our list. After a brief argument with Harper, Papelbon choked Harper and pushed him against the wall by the neck. It was a shocking and extremely personal act of violence that horrified viewers and professionals alike. The Nationals ended up suspending Papelbon for four games, effectively ending his 2015 season.

#5: José Bautista vs. Rougned Odor

Tensions between the Blue Jays and the Rangers were extremely high in 2016. It mostly began in the 2015 ALDS, when Blu Jay Jose Bautista flipped his bat after hitting a home run, which some people argue was an unnecessary sign of pride. Tensions then boiled over in May 2016, when Bautista intentionally slid into Rougned Odor. Odor decked Bautista in the face and the benches cleared, resulting in at least six ejections. It was a total mess, but it sure got people’s attention. Sometimes you just know when a moment will go down in history, and the image of Odor clocking Bautista will certainly be remembered for years to come.

#4: Chris Sale Annihilates the Ice Chest

Poor ice chest. It was just minding its own business until Sale came along after he gave up eight runs in 2013. First, Sale smacked it a few times with his mitt. Then he wailed on it like he was King Kong before finally punching it into oblivion. It was clearly a bad moment for him, but it’s always entertaining to watch a great, cathartic beatdown of an inanimate object, and this is one for the ages. Not done with inanimate objects, Sale would later cut up throwback White Sox jerseys with a knife during batting practice because he didn’t want the team wearing them.

#3: Big Papi Destroys the Dugout Phone

The lesson learned here? Don’t piss off one of the biggest guys in baseball. In 2013, David Ortiz, wasn’t so thrilled with the home plate umpire’s calls. So after striking out, Big Papi returned to the dugout and completely obliterated the dugout phone with his bat in an act of terrifying aggression. You know it’s bad when your own teammates are literally cowering in fear behind a towel and yelling at you for your behavior. Baseball is usually a pretty chill sport, but it can also be plenty scary when the emotions, or... shards of a broken telephone, start to fly.

#2: Pedro Martínez Takes Down Don Zimmer

The 2003 ALCS was extremely tense, and it unfortunately boiled over in one of the most infamous incidents of the decade. The game was full of offensive, physical attacks, but all hell finally broke loose when Roger Clemens threw at Manny Ramirez. This resulted in cleared benches, and things took a nasty turn when 72-year-old coach Don Zimmer charged Pedro Martinez. Martinez side-stepped him and took him to the ground, resulting in a 13-minute delay and an end to all beer sales. According to Martinez, this incident permanently colored his reputation, as many people saw him as the man who took down a 72-year-old rather than the all-Star pitcher that he was.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
- Brad Ausmus Covers Home Plate with His Jersey
- Brian Wilson Destroys the Water Cooler
- Lloyd McClendon Literally Steals First Base

#1: Pine Tar Incident

Baseball history was made on July 24th, 1983. The Royals’ George Brett hit a two-run home run to put his team in the lead. However, upon further inspection, his bat was found to have too much pine tar on the handle. Pine tar is a sticky substance that helps batters grip the bat. When called out for the transgression, Brett slid into a bloodthirsty frenzy and needed to be physically restrained from attacking the umpire. In the end, after the Royals ended up protesting their loss, they replayed the game and the Royals won, meaning Brett’s temper tantrum was for naught. The bat currently resides in the Baseball Hall of Fame, a relic from one of the most famous games (and freak-outs) in baseball history.


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