Major League Baseball is trying to crack down on brawls and dust-ups in the minor leagues. The commissioner’s office this season has instituted a fine of the parent club of any minor league team that has a bench-clearing incident, sources told The Athletic. The fine starts at $500 and doubles with every subsequent incident, one club source said, leaving a parent club that has two or more incidents in its farm system with at least a four-figure bill.
“If they leave the dugout or the bullpen, the organization gets fined,” said another club source.
MLB declined comment.
The commissioner’s office overhauled minor league baseball ahead of the 2021 season, including scheduling. Teams now frequently play each other for six or seven straight games. Having the same teams play each other repeatedly and consecutively might raise tensions and encourage the age-old trade of hit batsmen in the sport: you hit my hot prospect, I’ll hit yours.
As an example of the scheduling: The Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies on Sunday finished a set of seven straight games against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, including one doubleheader. Starting Tuesday, the Rumble Ponies play seven straight against Double-A Bowie. (In April, the Rumble Ponies had a large brawl on the third night of six straight against Double-A Portland).
The league might have felt there were too many bench-clearing incidents in 2021.
(Photo: Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)