If you've ever wondered: How many Canadians does it take to keep Alfredo Aceves from murdering their national baseball team? We now have our answer: seven.
The Red Sox right-hander rejoined the team yesterday in Fort Myers, still sporting a couple of lumps on the right side of his head following a wild brawl between Mexico and Canada at the World Baseball Classic on Saturday.
And once Aceves dealt with the assorted pleasantries -- yes, it was an honor to represent his country; no, his throwing schedule wasn't impacted -- the reporters in attendance got down to the nitty-gritty.
What the heck happened out there?
"You ever fight before?" Aceves asked his interviewer. "Now the question to you: Do you do the same thing?"
The melee started when Team Canada bunted in the ninth inning despite leading 9-2 while on the verge of eliminating the Mexicans, who found the breach of baseball etiquette distasteful. Reliever Arnold Leon responded by drilling Rene Tosoni in the back, and then a good old-fashioned donnybrook ensued.
All eyes immediately found Aceves, who raced onto the field. Team Canada certainly had Aceves on the mind, because Phillies prospect Tyson Gillies grabbed him from behind and spun him to the turf. When Aceves leapt to his feet looking for blood, he was bum-rushed.
"Who's Gillies?" Aceves asked. "That was the first time I saw him there. It's part of the game. He was trying to defend his team. If it were me, I'd try to do the same thing."
Aceves claimed he actually ran onto the field to play peacemaker, though his intentions quickly shifted.
"What can I say? It didn't surprise me when he threw me to the floor," he said. "I reacted to it, because I didn't do nothing to him. I was just calming down. The fighting was with the pitcher and the hitter. So I was saying, 'Calm down, man, calm down, come on, man.' And he just grabbed me and threw me on the floor. So I was like, 'I'm going to throw you on the floor, man.' Then when I jumped in to this guy, I had seven guys against me."
Aceves, who has some martial arts training, never got to unleash it, which is probably good for Team Canada.
"I didn't incite that, man," he said. "I was after the guy who threw me because I didn't do nothing to him. ... (After that) you're locked in. You're just trying to defend yourself and knock them out."
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