MLB announced suspensions for Boston Red Sox reliever Joe Kelly and New York Yankees infielder Tyler Austin for their involvement in the bench-clearing brawl on Wednesday, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY:
Joe Kelly gets six-game suspension; Tyler Austin gets 5-game suspension.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) April 12, 2018
Tensions began early in the game when Austin slid into Red Sox utility player Brock Holt, trying to break up a double play. Boston manager Alex Cora challenged the play for an illegal slide, but umpires upheld the ruling.
With the Yankees leading 10-6 in the seventh inning, Kelly hit Austin in the back with a 98 MPH fastball, which infuriated the New York hitter. That's where things escalated:
Kelly, Austin and Yankees third base coach Phil Nevin were ejected from the game, but the latter received a suspension. Nightentale also noted that a handful of players and coaches/managers received suspensions:
Joe Kelly and Tyler Austin are each appealing their suspensions. Also fined in the brawl were Red Sox manager Alex Cora and Yankees third base coach Phil Nevin, Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia and SS Xander Bogaerts, IF Marco Hernandez and 2B Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) April 12, 2018
The Red Sox-Yankees rivalry has long been considered the best in North American sports, but some of the heat was lost - with both teams missing the playoffs multiple years in the 2010s. But 2017 marked the first time since 2009 where both Boston and New York qualified for the playoffs in the same season.
Couple that with this brawl, and it's safe to believe that the rivalry is back on track. The two teams are among the American League favorites that are expected to contend for the World Series in 2018.
And in case you need a reminder, this isn't the first time that Boston and New York have gotten into a crazy bench brawl. Nobody can forget the 2003 ALCS betweeen the Yankees and Red Sox, when Pedro Martinez threw 72-year-old New York coach Don Zimmer to the ground:
Despite the perennial success of both teams in the 21st century, the Red Sox and Yankees haven't met in the playoffs since 2004. But it's safe to say the MLB world will happily welcome another postseason battle between these two.