Tuesday night’s baseball brawl in Cincinnati was not your typical do-si-do, push-and-shove affair usually seen when major league players get annoyed with each other.
That’s because of onetime Sierra Vista High School pitcher Amir Garrett. Garrett, who also played basketball at Findlay Prep, charged the Pittsburgh dugout and took on what seemed the entire Pirates team with the Reds trailing 11-3 with two out in the top of the ninth inning.
For a pitcher and former basketball player, the 6-foot-6-inch, 230-pound Garrett showed skills that might have made Don King or Bob Arum proud. He connected with a solid left straight before being mobbed and taken down by about a dozen Pirates.
“At the end of the day, it’s about protecting your teammates, protecting yourself,” Garrett said after the game, adding that “today was about protecting my teammates.”
"At the end of the day, it's about protecting your teammates, protecting yourself."
— FOX Sports Ohio (@FOXSportsOH) July 31, 2019
The brouhaha began when Pittsburgh’s Keone Kela threw a pitch high and tight at Cincinnati’s Derek Dietrich in the seventh. After the inning ended, Reds first baseman Joey Votto exchanged words with Kela, but the plate umpire kept the situation from escalating — at least for the moment.
Garrett came on to pitch, exchanged words with the Pirates, sprinted toward the dugout and threw a couple punches to spark the brawl, The Associated Press reported. Garrett was dragged to the ground by roughly half the Pirates team before backup arrived.
Garrett said he would accept any punishment doled out by Major League Baseball.
Garrett played basketball and baseball at Sierra Vista High School as a sophomore before transferring to Leuzinger (California), where he averaged 16.8 points and 7.2 rebounds in basketball.
Garrett returned to Las Vegas the next year and was a starting forward for the Pilots’ nationally ranked basketball team as a senior and was widely regarded as one of the top players in the country. Garrett was ranked No. 68 by Rivals.com in the class of 2011, and MaxPreps.com had him at No. 89.
The Reds saw the potential in the lefty and took him in the 22nd round of the 2011 draft, which allowed him to play college basketball at St. John’s.
“(Baseball is) my first love,” Garrett told the Review-Journal in 2011. “I put it on hold for a little bit, but I always had it in me.”
By 2014, he was a Single-A prospect for the Reds. He didn’t play much baseball in high school, but after his senior season at Findlay Prep, he spent some time working out at College of Southern Nevada.
He finally made it to the big leagues in 2017 where he started 14 games and went 3-8 for the Reds.
Cincinnati converted him into a reliever in 2018 and since then he has 5-3 record in a 112 games.
But after Tuesday night’s antics, which surely will include a suspension, Garrett might have a future home inside a boxing ring.