Two brawls in two months; is it a coincidence?

What on earth is happening in Dodgerland?

6/12/13 in MLB   |   droth   |   127 respect

After spending the beginning of his career in small markets away from the spotlight, I think we're starting to learn that Zach Greinke has a personality.  Either that, or he's accidentally building a reputation as some sort of tough guy.

June 11, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers batting coach Mark McGwire (12) holds back Arizona Diamondbacks third base coach Matt Williams (9) as Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly (8) speaks with Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson (23) in the seventh inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY SportsFor the second time this season, Greinke was right in the middle of a brawl with an NL West rival.  Last night, Diamondbacks pitcher Ian Kennedy did something you're never supposed to do, when he seemed to intentionally throw at Greinke's head.  This came after Greinke and Kennedy took turns beaning members of each other's teams, which brought on a warning from the home plate umpire.

Tensions had been building since Yasiel was strunk in the face, but when Greinke got hit, it boiled over and resulted in coaches fighting, a whole lot of haymakers, and multiple ejections.

Two months ago, the Dodgers got into with the Padres after Greinke hit Carlos Quentin.  Apparently Quentin's moniker, "Hard hittin' Carlos Quentin", is spot on because the altercation left Greinke with a broken collarbone.

So that's two in the span of two months.  This type of behavior happens in baseball but is there a reason why the Dodgers, and Greinke specifically, have been at the middle of the two last great baseball brawls?

Have the team's struggles combined with lofty expectations caused extra frustration?  Has the pressure that Don Mattingly's been under this year spread to the players and put them on edge?  

As a Giants fan, I want to be able to point to some chaos in Dodgerland as the reason, but I just can't connect those dots.

Yesterday's incident began when Kennedy hit Yasiel Puig in the face.  The incident could have been much, much worse, but, fortunately, the ball seemed to only graze Puig.  There's a tradition in baseball of reminding young players how the game works (see: Bryce Harper and Cole Hamels last year), so it shouldn't be too surprising that he was hit, but the fact that it hit him in the face must have added to the volatility of the situation.

Greinke retaliated appropriately by plunking Miguel Montero.  But then Kennedy took it too far.  The teams had already exchanged an eye for and eye, but then Kennedy extended it AND threw up and in.  

The brawl two months ago started when Greinke hit Quentin, but all signs point to that being a total accident.  It was a full count in a one-run game and there hadn't been any prior drama in that game.  The only complicating factor is that Greinke had hit Quentin a couple of times during their time in the American League, so the two had a little history.  But Quentin should have understood that the drilling was accidental and moved on. 

So although it seems like Greinke and the Dodgers are the new bad boys of the NL West, I think this confluence of events is more a coincidence than anything else.
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