It was an ugly scene at PNC Park in Pittsburgh on Easter Sunday as the Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers took part in a bench-clearing brawl. The scuffle started after Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez angered Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole by appearing to show up the pitcher, watching a ball he hit and taking his time getting out of the batters’ box.
After the game, Gomez said Cole should not have been angered by the bat flip and the watching of the ball. His rationalization for this was that Gomez has flipped his bat and watched home runs for his entire career. In this case, Gomez hit a triple. However, if he would have hustled out of the box instead of admiring his hit, he would have had himself an inside-the-park homer.
Obviously, this isn’t the first time Gomez has gotten himself into trouble with his cocky antics. The same situation occurred in 2013 when Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann wouldn’t let him cross home plate after Gomez showed up Braves pitcher Paul Maholm. Sure, Gomez might think Cole and the Pirates overreacted, but how many incidents does he need to be in before he realizes it’s not the other team’s problem, but his?
As for the suspensions handed down by the MLB office, the Brewers were hit harder than the Pirates as they should have been. Backup catcher Martin Maldonado was suspended five games and Gomez got three games. Pirates right fielder Travis Snider received a two game suspension and catcher Russell Martin got one game. All four were fined as well.
First of all, Maldonado only getting a five-game suspension is an absolute joke. Maldonado is a backup catcher, so he rarely plays at all. His five-game suspension will likely result in him really only missing one start. At least the correct guy was given the longest suspension, as his role in the brawl made him look like a total punk.
It’s not the fact that he punched Snider that makes him look bad, it’s that second baseman Rickie Weeks was holding Snider’s arms down, leaving him helpless. Maldonado got Snider with a complete cheap shot.
Gomez was probably deserving of the three game suspension because he used his helmet as a weapon by trying to hit Snider with it. Don’t let Gomez fool you, he tried to say Snider came at him “like a superhero” with his fists flying ready for a fight, but he didn’t do that. Watch it again. Snider was standing there and Gomez came at him first, with his helmet in hand, ready to attack.
Snider, even though he was clearly the unluckiest of the bunch, probably deserves the same suspension as Gomez. Snider did get Gomez with a perfect tackle after Gomez attempted to attack him with his helmet. Instead of two games, a three-game suspension would have been better for Snider.
As for Martin, I’m honestly not sure what his suspension is for. Martin never appeared to punch anyone during the brawl. The only reason I can think of for suspending the Pirates’ catcher would be for what he said after the incident. Martin made some controversial statements, including challenging Maldonado to an offseason fight for charity.
Both teams played their part in the brawl on Sunday, but Gomez and Maldonado really made it worse than it had to be. I have no problem with Cole saying something to Gomez after feeling shown up, that’s human nature. Gomez escalated the situation by getting overly heated, but Snider certainly didn’t help things by being the first Pirates player to approach the angry Gomez.
Overall, the suspensions didn’t seem to be handed out fairly based on each player’s involvement in the brawl; but then again, suspensions rarely seem to be fair.