An Alaska Baseball League brawl that's grabbing national attention because it was an actual fight between punch-throwing head coaches has resulted in suspensions for both men.
The coaches involved in the late-night brawl at Mulcahy Stadium earlier this week have been suspended, one for four games and the other for two, the president of the Alaska Baseball League said Friday.
Anchorage Bucs coach Mike Grahovac was suspended for four games and Peninsula Oilers coach Kevin Griffin got a two-game suspension for their 14th-inning fight Wednesday at Mulcahy Stadium, league president Chris Beck said.
The penalties were issued the day after the two coaches went at each other with the game tied 3-3 in the top of the 14th inning. Once the dust cleared, the Oilers scored six runs to claim a 9-3 win over the Bucs.
"It's important for the players, for the league, for everybody -- we're one of the best places in the summer to play baseball and we needed to handle this quickly," Beck said Friday afternoon.
"It's not good for anybody. Both coaches feel bad and understand they made a bad choice."
Players and umpires swarmed to the scene of the fight, which started in foul territory in front of the Bucs' clubhouse near third base. They intervened and managed to separate Grahovac and Griffin, although even then the fighting continued. Grahovac grabbed someone in an Oilers' uniform and sent him to the ground, according to video posted online by KTUU.
By Friday, video of the fight was showing up on dozens of news and sports websites. Though bench-clearing brawls aren't uncommon in baseball, brawls that produce actual punches are, something noted by the Sporting News:
"Baseball fights rarely result in actual fighting. The benches clear, naughty words are yelled and the teams separate before things get physical," the website said.
"This is not one of those baseball fights."
Beck, a veteran of 15 seasons in the ABL, said the suspensions were doled out in a meeting between the league's general managers. He said everyone involved in the discussion saw the video.
"It's kinda hard not to watch it," he said.
With the score tied 3-3, the fight erupted after Grahovac was ejected for arguing balls and strikes, Beck said.
"He had just gone through the gate," Beck said, presumably headed for the Bucs' clubhouse. But then, Beck said, "he stepped back onto the field."
Grahavac was standing near the fence when Griffin approached, which is where the video begins. The two men appeared to exchange words – the video does not include audio – and were mere inches from each other when Grahovac bumped the smaller Griffin, who responded by shoving Grahovac in the chest. Grahovac then threw the first punch and Griffin countered.
Griffin's first punch, a right cross, struck Grahovac in the face, sending Grahovac's cap and a pencil tucked behind his ear both flying.
Beck said Grahovac got the longer suspension for re-entering the field after being ejected. "That's an automatic," he said.
Grahovac, the head coach at California's Concordia University, will begin his four-game suspension Friday because the Bucs were idle Thursday.
Griffin, an assistant coach at Texas A&M International, will return to the field Saturday after missing games Thursday and Friday.
The penalty is Griffin's second of the season. He was suspended three games earlier this season for making contact while arguing with an umpire, Beck said.