There are roughly 8,000 games remaining in the regular season, but the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates already found a reason to engage in a bench-clearing donnybrook. The intra-division hubbub occurred in the top of the fourth inning on Sunday after Pirates pitcher Chris Archer threw behind Reds second baseman Derek Dietrich. Cincinnati manager David Bell challenged the umpire, and the two teams left their dugouts and converged on the field. It was a rather pedestrian affair until Yasiel Puig blew a gasket, and the Reds’ offseason acquisition had to be held back by his teammates.
Bell, Puig, and Cincinnati pitcher Amir Garrett were tossed from the game, as were the Pirates’ Keone Kela and Felipe Vázquez. Archer was not ejected, even though his pitch started the entire kerfuffle. Dietrich had paused to admire his 436-foot home run in the second inning, and Archer’s throw was a dose of belated retaliation.
You’d think two innings would be enough for Archer to cool off, but the man doesn’t take kindly to displays of pride. He’s very Old Testament in this regard, which is appropriate given the dramatic scene that was captured from behind home plate during the ensuing brawl. As a few folks on Twitter pointed out, the striking image looks like an oil painting of an ancient battle.
Perhaps it’s the framing that makes the image so inspiring, or the dynamic ketchup vs. mustard palette. Maybe it’s the Pirates’ dorky throwback hats that put it over the edge? Either way, it’s a breathtaking tableau worthy of the Rijksmuseum. The Pirates won, 7–5, but the afternoon’s real winners are art lovers everywhere.
Correction, April 7, 2019: This post originally misidentified the game as an interdivision contest.