Of The Spirit
By now, you've seen the replays of the Brewers extra-inning victory over the Pirates.
While losing three of four to Milwaukee is a big storyline, the even bigger one is the bench-clearing brawl that took place in the third inning.
You know the culprits by now â€” Carlos Gomez, Gerrit Cole, Martin Maldonado and Travis Snider â€” but all I've seen is people wanting to place all of the blame on Gomez and Maldonado, while giving Cole and Snider a free pass.
Since we are in Pirates' country, this doesn't come as a huge shock.
So where should you center your anger, and who deserves the most blame?
Since you all have the ability to think for yourself, you should, but let me say that if you're putting the entire thing on the shoulders of Gomez or even Maldonado, you should consider that the Pirates were in the wrong, too.
Yes, Gomez flipped his bat in admiration of his triple, which he thought would be a home run, but did he really do anything wrong there?
The only thing he really did wrong was cost himself and his team a potential inside-the-park home run.
For years, the best baseball players have admired their shots â€” be it a home run or not.
Joe DiMaggio, Sammy Sosa, Babe Ruth, Ken Griffey, Jr., Barry Bonds, David Ortiz, Alfonso Soriano, Prince Fielder, Carlos Gonzalez, Jose Fernandez etc. have all admired their long homers.
Heck, even Andrew McCutchen posed on Saturday night when he hit a double that was just barely out of the reach of Ryan Braun's glove.
If the players want to pose or admire their shots, let them.
It is a game, and it is entertainment, after all.
If Cole took exception to it, make it known the next time you face him at the dish.
Give him a brush-back pitch, or hit him right on the numbers in the back.
If not then, maybe one of the other dozen times the teams play this season.
Trust me, the message will be sent.
I don't think Cole barking at Gomez is the worst thing in the world, but is he going to do it each time a player admires a hit?
Now, what I do have a problem with is the way that Gomez acted when he heard Cole bark at him.
Taking off your helmet, acting like a mad man â€” which he has a track record of, by the way â€” is totally unacceptable.
Throwing haymakers â€” not to mention your helmet â€” is also uncalled for.
Here, I give all the credit in the world to Cole for keeping his cool (no pun intended) and walking away.
But then comes Snider off of the bench.
Look, I understand the need to protect your teammate, which both teams demonstrated when leaving their respective benches, but did Snider fire Gomez up even more when he had three people between him and Cole?
In turn, Gomez didn't need to try to throw haymakers, and Maldonado â€” who like Snider wasn't in the game â€” didn't need to give Snider a cheapshot, which ultimately led to a cut and shiner under the eye.
Of course, to those with black and yellow glasses on, Gomez and Maldonado are the villains, while Cole and Snider are the heroes.
You're telling me if Gomez was on the Pirates, you wouldn't defend his bat flip or style of play?
Right, just like you wouldn't want Scott Hartnell or Terrell Suggs in Pittsburgh.
Up until Cole said something, Gomez did nothing wrong.
His actions, along with those of Maldonado's are inexcusable and they all deserve whatever punishment is coming to them.
But don't give Snider and, to a lesser extent, Cole a free pass either.
Just as Gomez let his anger get the best of him â€” again, may I add â€” the ace-in-the-making did so too.