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Charging the mound: Wikis


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The Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox fight in a bench-clearing brawl when Red Sox's Coco Crisp charged the mound after being hit by a pitch.

In baseball, charging the mound is when a batter assaults the pitcher, usually the result of being hit by a pitch or nearly being hit by a pitch. The first incidence of a professional charging the mound has not been identified but the practice certainly dates back to the game's early days. Charging the mound is often the precipitating event of a bench-clearing brawl.

In baseball, the pitcher occupies the most commanding position on the diamond, since it is he who initiates every play. One of the key ways he controls the game is by intimidating the batter at the plate. Often a brushback pitch is a successful enough weapon, but sometimes a pitcher will hit the batter intentionally. There are a number of reasons for hitting a batter: standing too close to the plate, stealing signs, previously hitting a home run, the opposing team's pitcher previously hitting a batter, or simply because of some personal vendetta. Regardless of cause, the batter will often take offense and respond with violence. Typically before charging, bat and helmet are thrown aside so that batter may face pitcher mano-a-mano. This is because it is a very serious breach of baseball etiquette (not to mention dangerous) to charge the mound with a bat in hand. Though serious injuries have occurred from charging, usually fights are either broken up or joined by all other players so the conflict turns into harmless posturing and name-calling.

Charging the mound is usually more about responding to an indignity than actually an attempt by the batter to injure the pitcher. There is long standing etiquette in baseball regarding what is an acceptable offense to warrant a beaning, and there are similar rules for charging in response to being hit. While these unwritten rules have become somewhat more vague, the response of Major League Baseball to the incidents has become far more strict. Whereas suspensions in the past were rare and usually short, Commissioner Fay Vincent and his successor Bud Selig have reacted harshly to both instances of beaning and charging. Recently, most incidents which have caused the benches to clear have been met with large fines and lengthy suspensions.



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