It's the dead of winter. We're a month away from pitchers and catchers reporting and a good two-and-a-half until the games actually start to count. But down near the equator, baseball is only just heating up. On Wednesday, the pressure cooker that is the Venezuelan Winter League got a little too hot, however, when a bench-clearing dust-up turned into full-fledged criminal assault with former Arizona Diamondback Alex Romero at its center. The insanity got rolling when Rómulo Sánchez plunked César Varela, leading to a pretty standard bench-clearing dust-up. Nothing to write home about, by homicidal baseball standards, but still pretty fun.
But as it turned out, that was only the amuse bouche for the feast to come. In the next inning, Romero stepped to plate and was summarily plunked in retaliation for the fracas. It wasn't a dangerous bean. Nothing head height. No high heat. But it did manage to knock loose some sort of wiring deep inside Romero's head, who immediately wheeled on the catcher and began reigning blows upon him with his bat. The benches, as you've probably surmised, cleared again.
Romero was ejected for his violent explosion and deservedly so. Last time we checked, you can't just go around beating people blunt objects when they wrong you. Not even in hockey. But still, in the pantheon of batter-on-catcher crime, Romero still has a long way to go before he matches the unhinged heights of Izzy Alcantara, long may the mad king reign.