2022 Key Mariners Moments: The Angels Brawl in Anaheim
By Brandon Willman
On June 26, 2022, the fortune of the Seattle Mariners season changed drastically. Through that fateful game against the Los Angeles Angels, the team was 34-40 and that was after a five-game win streak.
However, on that late June game, something was sparked in the team that led to the brawl seen around the MLB, and from then on, it was a green light to the first postseason berth of my lifetime.
The brawl in question came after new Mariner acquisition Jesse Winker was plunked with a pitch in the second inning of the game and after Julio Rodriquez was thrown at earlier. There was some clear prior history between the two rival clubs, causing a shouting match to ensue between the two dugouts.
Jomboy Media outlined some previous instances that led to the eventual fateful brawl in a Youtube video. Those previous instances included the night before, where Mike Trout took a fastball up-and-in and a pitch that hit the Mariners’ Justin Upton a little over a week prior.
Winker took exception to something that was said after he got hit on the 26th, and despite the attempt by the umpires to hold him back, went at the Angel dugout.
Greeting him first was the injured Anthony Rendon, who took a left-hand open slap to the face shot at Winker.
To Mariners fans everywhere the intent to hit Winker was clear, as the Angels started an opener, Andrew Wantz, in his first career start ever. It was not only fans who thought that the hit was intentional, as manager Scott Servais said he believed that it was clear as day.
"It was pretty clear what was going on... They switched to an opener, who threw some balls at us. And it got out of hand from there."- Scott Servais
The aftermath of the brawl resulted in eight ejections and 12 suspensions. More importantly, the fate of the Mariners’ season switched.
Before the brawl, the Mariners were below .500 and out of the playoffs. The rest of the way, they went 58-33, including the team’s second-longest win streak in their history.
More so, until his production whimpered down at the end of the season, the Mariners faithful got behind Winker.
He was beginning to produce at a higher level after some early-season struggles, but his defense of his teammates and the two middle-fingers he showed the Angels crowd quickly enamored him with the fans... at least until the end of the season. However, at that time, fans were on his side.
"He’s awesome, emotional, relatable, and now has a slice of a connection to this fanbase. Mariners fans love him for this and I can’t hate his reaction."- Michael Thompson, Sodo Mojo contributor
To me, it is clear that his brawl was what set the tone for the rest of the season. The +25 game differential the rest of the way is incredibly impressive and without the brawl, I see a reality where the team does not reach the same heights they were destined to reach.
For the Angels, on the other hand, the brawl was the mark of the end of their season.