“I went to the fights and a hockey game broke out.”
We’ve all heard the that tired old line before, but you never hear it said about baseball and with good reason: baseball fights stink. When the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals decided to play the 40-man feud the other night in Cincy, it did manage to spook out St. Louis Blues enforcer Cam Janssen.
“To me, it’s pretty scary when you’ve got guys hitting you from behind and there’s 40 guys out there throwing punches and you’re not looking,” Janssen said. “You get blind-sided and all of the sudden you’re down in the pile getting kicked in the face. It’s a scary thing, but sometimes it’s kind of humorous when you see some of those guys try to throw punches.”
A baseball fight is basically like a good old fashioned line brawl in hockey except with four times as many people in the middle of everything pushing and shoving and saying all sorts of unmentionable things here. What got that whole mess started was when Cincinnati’s Brandon Phillips decided to mouth off at the Cardinals calling them all sorts of fanciful names. Janssen says that that sort of thing would never fly in the NHL.
“In hockey, no one would do that because they know there’s consequences on the ice. That’s why hockey players have respect for one another. If you’re going to run your mouth like that, then you’re going to be called out on the ice. And I’ll tell you what, there’s nobody going to be breaking that up for a while.”
Not only are baseball fights dangerous, they look all kinds of stupid. While some hockey fans will debate til they’re blue in the face over whether or not hockey needs legal fighting or not, the peacekeeping part of the game is very much still in tact and while some players might be severely lacking in the common respect aspect, what Janssen and others like him do in the NHL is admirable in its own squirrely way. While this Reds-Cardinals brawl has one thing in common with the NHL (Johnny Cueto doing his best Chris Pronger imitation and stomping on a guy with his feet) there’s no doubt that if Cueto started jawing with the likes of Chris Janssen it’d turn into an untimely finish for Mr. Cueto.