Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The 'respect' police

Carlos Gomez tries to get around umpire Fieldin Culbreth
and Pittsburgh third baseman Josh Harrison to get at
Pittsburgh pitcher Gerrit Cole.
On Tuesday, MLB issued a series of suspensions for Sunday's Brewers-Pirates brawl

Carlos Gomez got three games, which wasn't the stiffest penalty, and while he had said Monday he would appeal any suspension, I don't quarrel with it. Gomez did escalate matters by stepping off third base to respond to Pittsburgh pitcher Gerrit Cole, and he did swing his helmet at least once during the fracas.

But I will say this: Cole, who got off scot free, should be suspended too. He instigated the brawl just as much as Gomez did.

In case you don't know what happened: Gomez hit a deep fly to center off Cole, flipped his bat, admired the blast, started trotting to first — and only got going when the ball didn't leave the park. Then Gomez started running, and still got a triple out of it.

Cole took umbrage at Gomez' lack of hustle and said something to the former Twin, who said something back and started toward Cole, and then all heck broke out.

Here's my point: How did Gomez' lollygagging hurt the Pirates? It didn't. If anything, he helped the Pirates. Maybe, had he gone all out early, it would have been an inside-the-park home run.

If Cole's embarrassed that Gomez tripled off him without really trying, he ought to be mad at either himself for making a pitch Gomez can hit that well or his outfielders for not limiting the damage.

Too many incidents -- fights, brushback wars, whatever -- begin with one team deciding, for whatever reason, that it is their responsibility to police the other team's "respect for the game." It's none of their business. 

If Brewers manager Ron Roenicke or one of Gomez' teammates calls him out for the mistake, well and good. But its up to the Brewers to police their own dugout. The Pirates (and everybody else) should just let Go-Go go; if he doesn't run a ball out, it's bad for the Brewers and good for the opponent.

Cole shouldn't have baited Gomez. Gomez shouldn't have taken the bait. They were both wrong.

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