Oliver Perez talks about brawl in WBC game
Oliver Perez (left) and coaches from Mexico grapple with Canada’s Scott Mathieson during Saturday’s brawl in the World Baseball Classic game in Phoenix. (Getty photo)
With his Mexican team eliminated from the World Baseball Classic, Oliver Perez rejoined the Mariners on Sunday and talked about the wild ninth-inning brawl in Saturday’s 10-3 loss to Canada.
The veteran left-hander was one of seven players ejected from game at Chase Field in Phoenix after things got ugly when Mexico’s Arnold Leon hit Rene Tosoni with a pitch after Canada had bunted with a 9-3 lead.
As the benched emptied, some wild punches were thrown as players pushed and shoved. And Perez was right in the middle of the action until being restrained by teammates.
“Everyone just reacted,” Perez said Sunday in the Mariners clubhouse. “Sometimes people push too hard and you can get mad. Normally when you go [out] there, you’re trying to separate your teammates so nobody can get hurt. When fights go wild, anybody can get hurt and that can hurt your career. That’s a tough time.
“But when you’re in there, it’s just reaction. You don’t want anybody to punch or push you. We’re humans. And in those moments, you just react. That’s how the game is. Nobody wanted to get hurt, but it’s a man’s sport and sometimes one gets mad and everything happens.”
Perez said it was the first time he’d been in a brawl since he hit a batter while pitching in a Mexican League.
“But that wasn’t on purpose,” he said. “And that was like 18 years ago …”
Perez said he never saw Mariners teammate Michael Saunders, who plays for Canada, during the brawl. He said most of the scene was largely a blur until he caught the replays on TV himself.
“After the game, you still are thinking, ‘What’s going on? What happened?’” he said. “And when you start to see the tapes, you see it different when you are outside the lines. But when you are there, you don’t have words to say. You just react.”
Perez rejoined the Mariners as soon as he learned Mexico was eliminated by the U.S. victory over Italy on Saturday night. He said he didn’t want to miss any more time with the Mariners having an off day scheduled for Monday as he prepares for his second season in Seattle.