David Ross had never been in a fight before.
“I didn’t know what to do,” he said.
Ross remembers that night in 2003, when he attempted to extinguish a fight between Guillermo Mota and Mike Piazza, after the Dodgers pitcher drilled Piazza with a fastball in the back. The pitch prompted Piazza to drop his bat and helmet and charge the mound.
“I got his arm just as he was throwing a punch,” said Ross.
Piazza chased Mota around the pitchers mound as both team’s poured on to the field. Mota sprinted to the Dodgers dugout, down the runway and into the clubhouse before Piazza could reach him.
“The guy ran like a scared rabbit when the man came after him,” then Mets manager Art Howe told the media. “If he wants to hit someone, stand up there and fight. He can backpedal faster than I can run forward.”
Howe believed the incident was premeditated.
“It was not a setup,” said then Dodgers manager Jim Tracy. “This boils down to a history between two guys.”
The incident spilled into the team’s clubhouses. According to media reports, Mota quickly showered, dressed and climbed into teammate Brian Jordan’s waiting white Range Rover, which Jordan retrieved from the parking lot and brought inside the security gates. Jordan sped off — again — before Piazza could catch up.
Minutes later, Piazza drove to the entrance of the Dodger clubhouse.
“Where’s Mota?” Piazza shouted to Dodgers equipment manager Jerry Turner.
Piazza snooped around, checking the Dodgers trainer’s room, shower and lockers. No sign of Mota anywhere. Piazza sped off.