Wherever Carlos Gomez goes, drama and hot tempers are sure to follow.
The animated Milwaukee Brewers outfielder, who has rubbed more than his fair share of opponents the wrong way with his antics, found himself in the middle of another benches clearing situation on Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh, and this time it escalated into a full scale brawl.
The melee happened in the third inning right after Gomez bat flipped and admired what he thought was a home run off the bat. The baseball ended up hitting high off the center field wall at PNC Park, leaving Gomez to settle for a triple. And waiting for him there to express his displeasure with his antics was the man who served it up, Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole.
A shouting match ensued and the situation escalated quickly after Gomez charged toward the gathering of Pirates separating him from Cole throwing wild hay-makers. Pirates outfielder Travis Snider cut off the barrage by throwing Gomez to the ground, which seemed to end the first phase of the brawl. After some standing around and more jawing, Pittsburgh catcher Russell Martin tried getting at Gomez but was restrained by teammate Gaby Sanchez.
Gomez and Snider were ejected for their roles.
Though the Pirates deserve their share of credit for instigating the confrontation, the focus here has to be on Gomez and his brash and at times reckless style on the field. There's a line that has to be drawn somewhere between playing the game with passion and on edge, and playing the game like it revolves around you. Unfortunately, Gomez has been unable to define that line for his game, and until he does he's going to continue finding himself in messy situations.
Last September, he was involved in a confrontation with several members of the Atlanta Braves after showboating after a home run at Turner Field. Then Braves catcher Brian McCann famously blocked Gomez from touching home plate, which set off a benches-clearing shouting match. Gomez was suspended one game for his role in that incident. He should be looking at a much steeper punishment this time around considering the reputation he's built and his physical involvement.
It's unfortunate, too, because Gomez's production is certainly worthy of superstar status and more recognition. That's what we should be talking about today, tomorrow and for years to come. But instead it will be overshadowed by his theatrics.
Now would be a good time for Gomez to consider beginning the growing up process. If not for himself, then at least for the betterment of the game and those who appreciate his skills.
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