In what had to be among the most bizarre incidents in professional sports history--outside of Mike Tyson biting off Evander Holyfield’s ear--Albuquerque Isotopes catcher Miguel Olivo was released on Thursday, May 22. This decision came days after Olivo bit off a piece of a teammate’s ear during a heated confrontation in the team dugout during the Isotopes 7-4 loss at the Salt Lake Bees.
The teammate who had a chunk of his ear bitten off was Isotopes infielder Alex Guerrero, a Cuban who signed a $28 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers one year ago--essentially making him a bonus baby and a target in the first place by teammates like Olivo who make considerably less money.
How much less? Olivo is a 35-year-old Major League Baseball journeyman who played 33 games for the Florida Marlins before being traded to the Dodgers--where he was subsequently sent to the minor leagues. Olivo pulled in $800,000 last season--compared to 2012, when he raked in a cool $3.5 million.
The moral of the story here may be for young punks like Guerrero to never mess with a man’s money and livelihood--especially when a guy like Olivo is trying to get back to the big leagues any way he knows how. Guerrero is still in the minors because he can't get his defense going the way the Dodgers want him to.
Put the two together, an angry catcher with a propensity for having a short fuse and a struggling infielder--and you have a recipe for disaster. Especially when the guy in question--er, Guerrero-- makes that kind of dough and still can't make a play at second base.
The incident in question took place during the eighth inning. Olivo made a throw to second to Guerrero, who failed to tag out the Bees runner trying to advance. Olivo confronted Guerrero soon after, throwing a punch at Guerrero. Both players then had to be separated by their teammates.
The brawl between Olivo and Guerrero was so bad that Guerrero’s agent Scott Boras told CBSSports.com that part of Guerrero’s ear will require plastic surgery to have it reattached.
Neither player has commented publicly on the fight and subsequent ear bite, but a police report was filed and the Dodgers and Major League Baseball will investigate the matter further to see if any other appropriate actions need to be taken.
Olivo was suspended by the parent club Dodgers until the investigation into the dugout brawl at Smith’s Ballpark in Salt Lake City was completed, according to the club. (The Dodgers later released him.) Guerrero will miss five weeks of action due to the injuries he sustained during the scuffle.