Tempers flare in the Pioneer League

Nine players, including five from the Dodgers’ Ogden affiliate, were ejected from last night’s game at Idaho Falls in the top of the first inning after Idaho Falls Chukars (what exactly is a Chukar, anyway?) pitcher Paul Raglione hit Raptors leadoff man Devaris Strange-Gordon, setting off a wild, benches-clearing brawl … and this is ROOKIE ball, with most of the players having just started their professional careers and many of them products of last month’s amateur draft. You can see the video by going to youtube.com and typing in RAPTORS BRAWL, but the video doesn’t show what led up to the incident. It only shows Raglione moving toward the first-base line, where Gordon appears to be jawing at him as Idaho Falls catcher Juan Graterol tries to restrain him. Raglione then shoves Gordon, and the benches empty. Three if the five Raptors players ejected were Gordon, Kyle Russell and Brian Ruggiano, the Dodgers’ fourth-, third- and 23rd-round picks in this year’s draft. The others were Travis Vetters and Lyndon Poole. DeJon Watson, the Dodgers’ assistant GM and player development boss, said he doesn’t expect any suspensions to be handed down from the league office — which, if it’s like the league office of most minor leagues, probably consists of a desk, a phone and a fax machine in some guy’s basement.

Here’s DeJon’s comment:
“We addressed it with (the team) last night. Our manager, Mike Brumley, addressed it with the players on the bus on the way home, and he had even talked to them the night before about respecting the game and playing it the right way. We felt like this was initiated by (the Idaho Falls club). Our guys try not to get into fights, but they are going to protect themselves, and we’re not going to let somebody run through us. This was more out of self defense than trying to initiate anything. I wasn’t there, so I can’t really state how it all got that far along. But our kids respect the game, play the game the right way and go about their business the right way. It’s just unfortunate to have something like this happen this early in the season at at that level.”

The Pioneer League season doesn’t begin until mid-June, just after the draft. In general, it is where players drafted out of college are first assigned, whereas high school draftees usually are sent to the Gulf Coast League. Idaho Falls is a Kansas City Royals affiliate.

Elsewhere in the Dodgers’ system, Rafael Furcal, Nomar Garciaparra and Andruw Jones all played last night for Triple-A Las Vegas against Salt Lake, the first game for each of their rehabs. Furcal played four innings at SS and went 1 for 3, Nomar played four innings at 3B and went 0 for 2 and Andruw played the whole game at DH, going 1 for 3 with a solo homer. All three will play again tonight.

Oh, and Brad Penny threw his sim game an hour or so ago and looked fine.

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  • quirkzoo

    A Chukar is a pheasant.


  • Tony Jackson

    Then why don’t they just call themselves the Idaho Falls Pheasants?

  • El Lay Dave

    Because they want to call their team moms, “mother chukars”.

    Sorry, but this is time the tail end of the bill takes the comedy stage.