BY STEVE DUNN
Monday one of the most exciting and closest baseball races in history came to an end. Later this week the post-season begins with the Wild Card games between the Red and Pirates, Rays and Indians. The addition of one wild card spot in each league made for exciting baseball for many fans right up to the final weekend of the season. In the play-in game, Tampa Bay won the 10th spot.
But there was a really ugly incident on the final regular season Wednesday in Atlanta. A youthful Carlos Gomez of the Milwaukee Brewers had been hit with a pitch from the Atlanta pitcher, Paul Maholm in June–a pitch that Gomez believed to have been intentional. After being embarrassed when he swung wildly on the first pitch, Gomez connected on the second to send the ball out of the park. Still a “kid” in many ways, on a team whose season had ended several weeks before, Carlos began celebrating as he rounded the bases. His celebration went on a little bit long and even a little siilly, but frankly was understandable given the circumstances.
The Braves, however, took umbrage and by the time he was at third, he was being barked at by the Atlanta players. When he arrived at home plate, catcher Brian McCann stood in front of home plate blocking the end of his circuit, angrily shouting and basically denying him the opportunity to touch that base. What erupted next was a bench-emptying shoving, shouting match. Read more about the incident.
The Braves, who had been struggling at the plate and losing ground against the Washington Nationals, have been taking an attitude of “don’t show attitude in our house,” even though over the season they have shown attitude in other people’s houses. Gomez said he understood what McCann was doing. I for one, an avid baseball fan and generally a fan of McCann’s, however, do not understand. For a “mature” player like Brian McCann to show such an unsportsmanlike attitude was equally unacceptable.
I mean, Brian and the Braves; Gomez was a young star playing on a team that was going nowhere. You have a team what has a legitimate chance to win the Series. Gomez and the 2013 Brewers are already fading into the woodwork.
Later, in fact, quite quickly, Gomez issued this statement via Twitter:
“I would like to apologize first to the fans, MLB, my teammates and the Brewers organization as well as the Braves organization. The way I carried myself on the field is unacceptable, I should have done better to control myself and set a good example.” His apology was blunted a bit by a statement of justification for his reaction–which apologizing for the reaction itself.
I have seen no such apology from the Braves. Shame on you.