With regards to the brawl Wednesday night between the Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers following the home run by Carlos Gomez, the Braves are at fault. The Braves should have ignored Gomez and let it go. Instead, they went after Gomez, escalated the situation and caused the benches to clear in one of the ugliest incidents that has occurred during the 2013 MLB season.
Gomez should not have admired his home run and showed up the Braves the way he did, but the Braves should not have instigated him. Paul Maholm and Freddie Freeman should not have shouted at him while he was running the bases; they should have known that Gomez would react negatively. Most importantly, Brian McCann should not have blocked home plate, preventing Gomez from scoring.
McCann blocking the plate so that Gomez couldn’t complete his home run trot is just as childish and immature as Gomez admiring his home run, if not more so. It’s one thing to yell at a player, but it’s another thing to interfere with him running the bases. What McCann did is the equivalent to if Freeman had stuck his leg out to trip Gomez as he rounded first base. It was a radical reaction and above all else, an overreaction.
There are other ways the Braves could have dealt with the situation, but confronting him right then and there on the basepaths was not the solution. It was an immature reaction to Gomez’s immaturity, and it created an unnecessary brawl that led to ejections and could lead to suspensions.
Moreover, the Braves need to be smarter. They need to realize that they are less than a week away from playing in the playoffs, and the last thing they need is a distraction like this or for one of their key players to get suspended. No one is saying the Braves need to like what Gomez did, but they needed to look the other way and let it go.
Gomez is not without blame too, but the Braves turned what could have been nothing into a major incident. Atlanta should have more important things to worry about right now than a player’s reaction to a meaningless home run in a meaningless game, and because they chose not to look the other way, they’re to blame for Wednesday night’s brawl.