MLB brawls always misunderstood

It's easy for fans to miss why these fights break out in the first place

Updated: April 12, 2013, 9:21 PM ET
By C.J. Nitkowski | ESPN Insider

You know the story: On Thursday night, Zack Greinke hit Carlos Quentin with a pitch. If you didn't hear about it, the details are here, here and here.

Hit by pitches, brawls, unwritten rules. Everyone has an opinion and everyone is a critic, but so few, by no fault of their own, actually get it.

One of my favorite all-time mound charges took place in 2000. Gerald Williams charged Pedro Martinez after getting hit on the forearm. Gerald looked stunned and did not charge the mound immediately. He took a few steps toward first while looking at his arm. He stopped and looked at Pedro, then back at his arm, but still didn't charge. He looked at Pedro a second time, and it was at that point he bolted for the three-time Cy Young Award winner.

[+] EnlargeGerald Williams and Pedro Martinez
PETER MUHLY/Getty ImagesWilliams was angry that Martinez showed no remorse for plunking him.

I played with Gerald a couple of years later and asked him about the incident. I told him I was interested as to why he didn't charge at first and what made him decide later that it was time to go. His answer was revealing.