Leave it to Seattle Mariners reliever Norm Charlton to put yesterday's brawl at Camden Yards into perspective.
When asked if he had seen a wilder fracas than the 20-minute one that erupted in the seventh inning yesterday between the Mariners and the Orioles, Charlton smiled slyly and said, "I was a [Cincinnati] Red."
Although Charlton, the former Nasty Boy bullpen ace, could smile about the incident -- which led to the ejection of three Orioles and five Mariners, including manager Lou Piniella -- for Chris Bosio, the brawl was no laughing matter.
Bosio, whose inside pitches to Mark McLemore and Harold Reynolds preceded Mike Mussina's hitting of catcher Bill Haselman that began the brawl, apparently refractured his left collarbone in the fight.
Although Bosio's condition will be re-evaluated today, Seattle trainer Rick Griffin left no doubt that Bosio, who threw a no-hitter April 22 against the Boston Red Sox before breaking his left collarbone April 27 covering first base, will go back on the disabled list.
Griffin said an unidentified Oriole grabbed Bosio's arm and pulled it back. The 30-year-old right-hander was heard screaming by players at the bottom of the pile. McLemore said he made contact with Bosio during the fight, but it's unclear if he caused the injury.
Save for the no-hitter, Bosio, who was not available for comment, has had a difficult 1993, with the death of his grandfather and the unwelcome presence of a drifter in his California home during spring training.
Griffin said: "He's very, very upset. He worked real hard to get back. He had an awful spring, with all the things that happened to him in his personal life. Then, to break his collarbone and then to work so hard to get back, for this to happen [in his second start] is very upsetting."
The Mariners were especially upset with the decision of the umpiring crew not to eject Mussina after he hit Haselman on his next plate appearance after homering to left in the fifth.
Piniella said: "That's why I got ejected from the ballgame. They kicked out my starting pitcher. Their starting pitcher stayed in the ballgame, and he's the one that really started the altercation.
"Usually, if there's a fight on the mound, the pitcher and the hitter get ejected. But here the starting pitcher is allowed to stay in, and he's the one that hit the hitter. I don't see the reasoning in that."
Haselman, a rookie, said Mussina hit him on purpose.
"He was hitting his spots, throwing a good ballgame all day, and then he comes up near my head and shoulders," Haselman said. "That [charging the mound] is a part of the game, and I'm going to go after him if he comes up near my head. If he hits me in the leg, I probably don't do anything."
To the question of whether he judged Mussina's throw to be intentional, Haselman said: "Absolutely. He had too good of control not to. I don't go out there if he doesn't do it on purpose."
In addition, the Mariners took the fact that Mussina threw down his glove as an act of aggression.
Charlton said: "When you get out there [to the mound], it's a mess. I think it's pretty obvious. Boz [Bosio] comes in on a couple of guys, then Mussina comes in on a guy high and tight, then drops his glove on the mound. It's like he's saying, 'All right. Let's go.' "
Haselman said Bosio's pitches behind McLemore in the fifth and former Mariner Reynolds in the sixth carried no message.
"Boz threw behind their guys twice, but he didn't do it on purpose," Haselman said. "I don't know if they took it the wrong way, like we're throwing at them. Maybe something like that happened. But we're nowhere near the top of them. Even if those pitches do hit them, it's going to be in the thigh. It's not going to hurt them."
The Mariners said they were stunned by the length and ferocity of the brawl, which delayed play for 20 minutes and crossed both foul lines.
"There were some heated people and some heated players out there," Piniella said. "I tell you what: If our hitter hadn't been hit, this wouldn't have happened."
Haselman said: "You just expect the one pile and that's it. But I looked over and another broke out and another one broke out. You never expect that."
Added Charlton: "You never like to see those things happen. It projects badly on the sport. Hopefully, you move on, all is forgotten and you go on about your business."