Navarro reflects on Mexico-Canada Classic altercation
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Minor League first baseman Efren Navarro is back in Angels camp now, but just four days ago, he was in the middle of one of the ugliest baseball incidents in recent memory, when tempers flared, punches were thrown and even objects were tossed in a heated scrum between Team Mexico and Team Canada at the World Baseball Classic.
Canada's Chris Robinson bunted to lead off the ninth inning with his team already leading by six runs. Mexico's Luis Cruz appeared to point to the next batter, then Arnold Leon hit Rene Tosoni in the back and a wild fracas ensued at Chase Field on Saturday, with Mexican pitcher Alfredo Aceves basically at the center of it and a water bottle hitting Canadian pitching coach Denis Boucher in the face.
Navarro, who tried his best to act as a peacemaker and separate players, said Mexico knew the rules and understood that the tiebreaker of run differential put scoring at a premium in every frame, no matter the situation.
"But it was just the heat of the moment," Navarro said. "The intensity level was so high. It happened so quick, that whole incident."
Over the last few days, Navarro has received numerous texts messages and phone calls from friends and family members wondering if he was hurt -- he wasn't. He's seen the video from the altercation on YouTube countless times.
His reaction: "Geez, what did we get into?"
Given the rules of the tournament, Navarro didn't have a problem with the bunt.
But that's hindsight.
"In the moment, you're representing Mexico, and we're in it to win it, and just the intensity level every inning, I can't explain it," Navarro said. "It was a good vibe, and plus the fans, a lot of fans rooting for us. Even when we played USA, that was by far one of the best moments of my baseball career, just being there, the chants. USA! then a few minutes later, Mexico!
"Overall, the WBC was a great time, it was a great experience. Unfortunately that happened. There's not much you can say, just learn from it and move on."