Veteran pitcher Archie Bradley was injured during the big dust-up in Sunday’s Mariners-Angels game. Right away, before learning any of the particulars, this is already a story you would not want told about yourself. A conflict at work escalated to the point that guys were throwing things at each other; then several dozen of us decided all at once that it should be resolved via a giant brawl, and in the fracas I fractured my elbow. Just in general, you would not want to be associated with this sort of workplace behavior, let alone find yourself in a sling due to your participation in it. If you had to tell the story of the time your office rushed out and attacked the guys from another office, you’d like to be able to point to video evidence that clearly shows your condition of detached bemusement, and that you attempted to deescalate the situation. Here is the absolute best you can look in a huge workplace brawl:
Not only is that very cool and mature behavior, it is also extremely unlikely to result in anyone fracturing their elbow. Because Bradley did fracture his elbow, the best he could hope to say about the injury, in the aftermath, is that he earned it in some cool way. Perhaps by throwing himself in front of an onrushing mass of Mariners players in order to protect a small child who happened to wander onto the field during the frenzied opening moments of the brawl. Or maybe that a red-hot Mike Trout wrenched it with supernatural strength as a heroic Bradley tugged him out of the eye of the storm. Or, hell, in the absence of any noble self-sacrifice, that he fractured it by landing a devastating flying elbow drop to the upper chest of Jesse Winker. You might laugh nervously and back away a little if he told you about this move at a party, but later, privately, after the kids are asleep, you would simply have to line some pillows up on your bed and get off one or two elbow drops of your own, imagining the satisfaction of landing one on your foe’s vulnerable sternum.
Unfortunately, Bradley did not fracture his elbow in any cool or dignified or bitchin’ way. The story he will have to tell his parents and siblings and significant others and possibly even children, one day, is that he broke his arm and ruined his season falling out of the dugout.
This was precisely as uncool as it sounds. Sometimes when all hell breaks loose on a baseball diamond—a donnybrook, sure, but also when a guy throws a no-hitter or scores a walk-off run or when a team wins a pennant or series or World Series—guys will leap the railing in order to avoid forming an orderly line up the dugout steps. Also because it is probably fun as shit, and if you’re in the dugout for a while you probably start to hope for something to happen, good or bad, that will give you an opening to leap the railing. Bradley was against the railing when benches cleared Sunday, seized the moment, took the straightest line onto the field, and blew the landing, a moment that was immortalized by the incredible video replay work of the irreplaceable Jomboy:
Possibly the worst thing about fracturing your elbow while simply trying to move toward a basebrawl is no one will ever believe you when you describe what motivated your actions in the first place. I was going in there to kick some mega ass. Sure you were. I was just gonna go and peacefully pull guys out of harm’s way. Sure you were. I just wanted to be on the scene in case shit went haywire. If someone who fractured their elbow in a fall after vaulting the dugout railing told me this, I would assume immediately that they mostly just wanted to look cool and heroic going over the railing, and got what they had coming.
The Angels, who were assessed 33 combined games of suspensions for their actions before and during and after the brawl, said Tuesday that Bradley will be out at least a month. Athletic trainer Mike Frostad indicated it will probably be closer to a “couple of months,” as it will be at least four weeks before Bradley’s elbow is healed enough for him to begin a throwing program. Bradley’s injury was actually the second from the brawl: Mariners catcher Luis Torrens was placed on the 10-day injured list with a sore shoulder, but at least in his case he hurt himself down in the heart of the action. It will not be a proud story, but at least it will be the story of something happening to him. Bradley’s story will always be of the time he was in a huge rush to participate in the absolute dumbest event his sport is capable of producing, was thwarted immediately by a three-foot barrier, and ate a huge mouthful of shit. I would tell people I fell off my bicycle.