Everyone by now undoubtedly knows what happened last night between Atlanta and Milwaukee. Furthermore, everyone who reads this column – normally about the Baltimore Orioles – religiously knows my stance on unwritten codes of baseball. If you’re not familiar with my views on that, basically…they exist, and players need to respect them. Milwaukee’s Carlos Gomez broke a big time unwritten rule in the first inning of last night’s game when he stood and admired his home run shot (and yelled and gestured towards the pitcher). Gomez claims that he was intentionally hit back in June, and this was his “retaliation.”
Not only did Gomez do that, but he hot dogged all around the bases. This is not only disrespectful to the opponent, but to the foundation of the game itself. Furthermore, Gomez didn’t do any of this for himself or the “have fun” (not that having fun is a reason to disrespect the game). He did it to purposely show up the opposing team.
Speaking for myself, I respect what Atlanta catcher Brian McCann did in blocking the plate so Gomez couldn’t touch it. The run was credited to Atlanta anyways because it was ruled interference, however you can’t allow your team or your teammate to be disrespected in that manner. Furthermore, while the umpires probably should have ejected McCann, they opted not to do so. That’s incredibly telling to me, and it really shows where justice lies in this situation. Those umpires saw what Gomez did, and they had to have thought in the backs of their minds that he was violating an unwritten rule. So in not ejecting McCann, they indirectly justified his actions. In effect, the fight was caused by Gomez, not McCann.
Perhaps that’s reading a bit too much into the situation, however the fact remains that baseball has unwritten rules more so than any other sport. If you choose not to respect them like that, you or one of your teammates will pay the price. On top of all of that, Atlanta has a lot more to lose in this situation than does Milwaukee. If someone ends up getting suspended, that puts a huge tax on Atlanta as they head into post season play next week.
I can’t sit here and list all of the unwritten codes, but fans are smart enough to know that admiring your shot or hot dogging it around the bases like that is one of them. And ultimately we see the reaction when something like that is violated.