Aceves had 'Satan in his eyes' in WBC brawl

Aceves had 'Satan in his eyes' in WBC brawl
March 9, 2013, 7:45 pm
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Even as part of an international tournament, Alfredo Aceves can't seem to shy away from controversy. This time, however, it seems Aceves was more of a victim than a troublemaker.     

In the ninth inning of the Team Canada-Team Mexico game in Pool D of the World Baseball Classic, Aceves found himself in the middle of a bench-clearing brawl.     

Mexico pitcher Arnold Leon drilled Canada's Rene Tosoni with a pitch. Tosoni reacted angrily, walking toward the mound, prompting the benches to empty.     

Team Canada outfielder Tyson Gillies seemed to seek Aceves out and from behind, wrestled him to the ground before sprinting away. Aceves chased after him, seeking retribution, but was intercepted by several Team Canada members. Aceves got several punches into a scrum that took minutes for umpires and officials to clear.

"I had a hold of him,'' said Team Canada coach Larry Walker of Aceves, "and I think I saw Satan in his eyes.''

Aceves was later one of several players ejected from the game. The WBC announced Sunday morning that no suspensions or punishments would be handed out as a result of the fight,

"I did see it on film,'' said John Farrell of the incident. "I don't know what led up to it. But I saw the altercation. I think we all hope our players don't get injured when they go off to a tournament, particularly in that type of melee. It looked like he came out of it OK from everything else but a couple of welts on his head.''

The Sox had a message from the Team Mexico trainer that Aceves "came out of it OK despite taking a couple of left hooks to the head.''

There had already been several borderline plays on the bases when things got out of hand. A bunt hit by Chris Robinson heightened the tension - a WBC tiebreaker relies heavily on runs and the Canadians wanted to score again in the ninth. Third baseman Luis Cruz fielded Robinson's bunt and seemed to tell Leon to hit the next batter.

Managers from both teams blamed the tiebreaking rule that uses run differential to determine what team moves on to the next round.

"It was just simply a misunderstanding," Mexico manager Rick Renteria said. "In a normal setting, a normal professional setting I should say, a 9-3 bunt in that particular fashion would be kind of out of the ordinary."

When the brawl took place, Red Sox players, in the clubhouse, readying for their game with the Baltimore Orioles Saturday night at Jet Blue Park, immediately gathered in front of two TV monitors showing the action and began rooting on Aceves.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.