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Phillies, Pirates find something to brawl over in 10-0 exhibition game

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Whatever it was, Larry Bowa found about it.

Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Known troublemaker Kevin Slowey took the mound for the Phillies today, so you knew things were going to boil over at some point. Look at him, hands folded like a deranged lunatic stifling his instincts to destroy human life long enough for a photograph, and then tearing the photographer apart.

These are the times we live in now; no sane people want to play for the Philies, so they have to rely on mad men teetering on the edge and escaped asylum patients who've murdered and taken the place of actual ballplayers.

The trouble started in the fourth inning, when Slowey did the unthinkable and quick pitched the Pirates' Sean Rodriguez. "Quick pitching," for those who don't know, is a Cliff Lee specialty move, in which the pitcher gets the ball across the plate before the batter can get ready. In the baseball world, this is akin to striking a co-worker across the face with a stapler.

Whether Slowey did or not, Rodriguez wasn't going to take the perceived slight sitting down. In the fifth inning, Rodriguez decided enough was enough and somebody finally had to take this 30-year-old career 4.62 ERA-haver down a peg. He went after Slowey, the benches cleared and everyone wondered what had these players so hopped up.

What's that? The key troublemakers in the whole incident were coaches?

Yes, apparently Larry Bowa's jugular was visible from the press box, which reminded everyone that we're not only in for a season of last place baseball, but that a 70-year-old man whose life force is generated by screaming himself hoarse will be along for the ride. Also, yes, one nice little detail is that Bowa's ire was directed at a fan, apparently inviting him to come down onto the field to get an better look at his throbbing neck vein.

Hey, let's not pretend that the "fan" label grants automatic innocence; there's a chance this person may have said something were yelling about. But we'll probably never know, and in general, involving the fans in most aspects of an ongoing game is usually a poor idea at best, let alone as the benches are clearing.

Everybody stayed pissed. Clint Hurdle was ejected a little later for arguing balls and strikes. Ryne Sandberg was noticeably peeved after the contest (The Phillies lost 18-4 and their defense was a sick joke), though not enough to skip giving autographs to fans, something he may have been asked to do in the wake of one of his coaches, you know. Trying to fight one of them.

But by the end of the day, the Phillies showed the Pirates that these games don't count, so the best aspect to improve upon in spring training isn't scoring or hitting; it's consistency.