Major League Baseball has announced the first round of punishments from Sunday’s benches-clearing brawl between the Oakland Athletics and Houston Astros — and an Astros coach is getting a huge suspension.
Astros coach Alex Cintrón, who instigated the brawl, got a 20-game suspension, according to various reports. That accounts for nearly half of Houston’s 44 remaining games. The punishment for A’s outfielder Ramón Laureano, who charged Houston’s dugout on Cintrón’s prompting, is six games, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Cintrón’s suspension is effective immediately. Laureano has appealed and can play until his appeal is heard.
MLB made it clear this year, in the age of coronavirus and socially distanced baseball, it did not want players clearing the benches and pushing each other around on the field. The length of this suspension is proof that MLB is taking seriously anyone who goes against their wishes. It’s also proof that the league expects more from coaches like Cintrón, whose suspension translates to 54 games if it were a 162-game season.
In a statement released after the suspension, Cintrón said:
“I accept MLB’s suspension and will learn from this. Although I never referenced Ramon’s mother, my actions were inappropriate. I apologize for my part in Sunday’s unfortunate incident. As coaches, we are held to a higher standard and should be an example to the players. Hopefully, other coaches will learn from my mistake so that this never happens again in the future.”
In this season’s other benches-clearing incident, Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly got an eight-game suspension after throwing near the head of two Astros and taunting Carlos Correa. He didn’t hit either better, but fueling a benches-clearing moment was part of his punishment.
In Sunday’s incident, Laureano was angry after getting hit. He could be seen angrily talking to Houston’s pitcher, but Cintrón reportedly yelled something about Laureano’s mother (Cintrón denies this part) and then motioned for Laureano to bring it on. So Laureano charged the dugout. Cintrón wasn’t in the middle of the melee, he could be seen getting behind a line of Astros.
It wasn’t nearly as bad as some other MLB fights we’ve seen over the years, but since it went directly against MLB orders, the league felt like it had to send a message to any future offenders.
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