The fight between Kyle Farnsworth and Paul Wilson lasted only a minute or so Thursday at Great American Ball Park, but it might have ramifications for months to come.
The Cubs' reliever scored a first-round knockout of the Reds' starter in the brawl that broke out in the seventh inning of Cincinnati's 3-1 victory over the Cubs. Wilson accused Farnsworth of throwing at him on a bunt attempt.
Manager Dusty Baker was unapologetic and hinted the Cubs would not forget about it soon.
"I have a question," Baker said. "Didn't [the Reds] just get into a fight [with Philadelphia] just a couple of days ago? Know what I'm saying? Looks like they have some bad blood going with a lot of people.
"All I know is that we're not the club to have bad blood with because we have some guys who can hurt you with that ball. I don't suggest too many people get into a knockdown war with us."
It all started with Wilson squaring off to bunt against Farnsworth with a runner on first and no outs in a 2-1 game. Farnsworth's inside pitch nearly hit Wilson and eluded catcher Damian Miller.
According to Farnsworth, Wilson walked out toward the mound shouting an obscenity at him. Farnsworth then challenged Wilson to back up his words with action.
When Wilson began to run toward the mound, Farnsworth picked him up and slammed him down hard on his back like a linebacker taking down a running back. Both benches cleared as the melee continued for about six minutes.
"I was kind of surprised he came at me," Farnsworth said. "It was a 2-1 game."
When Wilson emerged from the bottom of the pile, his nose was bloodied and blood splotches covered his jersey. Farnsworth said his teenage days playing football came in handy.
Farnsworth insisted he didn't know who had bloodied Wilson's nose and didn't care.
"When you're at the bottom of the pile, stuff is going to happen," Farnsworth said.
Baker was livid afterward and said Wilson was the aggressor in the incident. He said Wilson deserved whatever punishment Farnsworth dealt out.
"Where I come from, if someone is coming at me aggressively, I'm the type who's going to do the same thing," Baker said.
"There are a few guys you don't want to venture out to see," Eric Karros added. "Farnsy is one of them."
Wilson said he wasn't injured in the brawl and declined to address the subject. Reds manager Bob Boone said Cubs starter Mark Prior threw behind Jason LaRue's head in the sixth inning, which precipitated Wilson hitting Moises Alou in the top of the seventh.
"With [Prior's] control, and he throws it behind LaRue?" Boone said. "When a major-league pitcher does that, you know something is up."
Baker was trying to be a peacemaker during the melee, but when Reds coach Ray Knight put his hand on him, Baker shoved Knight out of the way.
"I've known Ray a long time," Baker said. "We're pretty tight. When I went out there, I turned around and somebody grabbed me. In a situation like that, you don't like to be grabbed too much. It was no big deal."
Baker was annoyed about the so-called Bounce celebration the Reds performed after their walk-off victory in Tuesday's game. On Thursday he called it the "Tigger imitation," referring to a cartoon character in "Winnie the Pooh." But he said the Bounce had nothing to do with the brawl.
Did the Cubs players take note of the Bounce?
"They won the game [Tuesday] and did their little thing," Farnsworth said. "Some guys get upset about it. There's a time to do it and a time not to do it."
Last Friday, the Reds engaged in a brawl with the Phillies after Philadelphia pitcher Carlos Silva threw behind Adam Dunn's back in retaliation for him bowling over catcher Mike Lieberthal at the plate with a 10-run lead.
The Cubs and Reds have six more games against each other in September. Will the brawl be forgotten by then, or does bad blood linger after an ugly incident like this?
"I'm sure it does," said Prior, the losing pitcher Thursday. "It's baseball. People remember things. It's going to get heated. It's a tight race between us and the Reds and the Cardinals and the Astros. So it's going to be intense to begin with.
"This will probably carry over the next time we play them. Who knows? We're both aggressive teams and trying to win ballgames."