MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Jose Urena was itching to start a fight last night, and Jeremy Hazelbaker was happy to oblige. In the fifth inning at Autozone Park on Monday Night, New Orleans Zephyr starter Urena threw a missile at Memphis Redbird Hazelbaker’s head that he was just able to dodge. However, the intent was still felt, and Hazelbaker moved toward Urena. Urena came off the mound ready to brawl, and the benches and bullpens cleared as the pair met about halfway between home plate and the mound.
It was somewhat remiscent of the Machado-Ventura fight earlier this month, until the bullpens got involved. New Orleans’ Nefi Ogando came flying out of the right field bullpen and while still in full stride sucker punched Memphis outfielder Jose Martinez, which reignited the fracas.
***Shout out to the person running the PA system who played “Welcome to the Jungle” as the fight escalated.
When the dust settled five players and a manager were ejected– three from each side. Urena and Hazelbaker were tossed for starting the fight. Ogando was ejected for the sucker punch. Martinez and pitcher Juan Gonzalez were told to leave early for being the last two to stop fighting, or trying to, as they attempted to get to Ogando to pay him back for his cheap shot. Zephyr Manager Arnie Beyeler was also ejected, presumably punishment for ordering the code red on Hazelbaker or at the least his inability to stop it.
The Memphis TV station WMC Action News 5 got footage of the melee shot from behind the first base dugout:
A fan captured the fight from yet another angle:
And another one:
Hazelbaker, when not spearing pitchers, has played well for the Redbirds since he was demoted on June 17 so the Cardinals could bring back Kolten Wong to play the outfield. In eight games for Memphis, the 28-year-old outfielder has slashed .360/.484/.440.
The fight obviously took center stage, but they did play baseball as well last night. The Redbirds trailed 1-0 going into the fight and outscored the Zephyrs 4-2 after it to get the win. David Washington hit a two-run home run in the seventh to seal it for Memphis.
The Redbirds and Zephyrs get one more chance this week to throw down with Memphis going for the four-game sweep of the Marlins’ Triple-A affiliate tonight. The Cardinals’ top prospect, Alex Reyes, will be on the mound for the home team looking to rebound from the worst start of his seven since coming off suspension.
Follow @TimJKaiser on twitter for all your “basebrawl” coverage throughout the Cardinals farm system this summer.