Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Fines Handed Down for Brewers-Pirates Brawl — Brewers Not Happy

with 2 comments

Well, it’s official. Several suspensions and fines were leveled today against most of the players involved in the recent brawl between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Pittsburgh Pirates — and the Brewers as a whole are not happy.

Why?

Well, the guy who actually started the ruckus, Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole, wasn’t given either a suspension or a fine. Cole lied when he said he didn’t swear (as I said in my previous blog, it’s obvious he dropped a few f-bombs), and that makes me think whatever he said was more than has been reported . . . because if you lie about one thing, what’s to say you didn’t lie about something else?

Not that what Gomez did was right, but why wasn’t Cole at least given a slap on the wrist?

That being said, the other strange part about it was that Pirates OF Travis Snider, the first guy who came off the bench to mix it up with Gomez, was given a lesser fine (two games) than Brewers catcher Martin Maldonado (five games). Granted, Maldonado punched Snider and everyone knows it — Snider is sporting a black eye, and perhaps that’s why Major League Baseball didn’t give him the same five game suspension.

But it still seems odd.

Next, Pirates catcher Russell Martin, who also appeared to have landed a punch or two, was only given one game, while Carlos Gomez — who didn’t land any punches as far as I could tell in my copious review of all available replay angles — got three games.

For the record, I think this is a fair assessment of Martin and Gomez’s actions. The suspensions seem reasonable.

However, the Brewers definitely do not think Gomez’s suspension is fair, and they don’t seem to believe Maldonado was punished fairly, either. Here’s what Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, as quoted by Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel baseball beat writer Todd Rosiak, said earlier this afternoon:

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke, like Gomez, didn’t agree with the suspensions and thought the Pirates got off too lightly.

“No, I don’t,” he said when asked if they were fair. “The guy who started it all got nothing, and I don’t understand that. So, no I’m not happy with it. Doug (Melvin) isn’t happy with it. I know they’re tough decisions, I know they have a lot to think of, they’ve got precedent, they’ve got a lot of things that go into this, but I don’t think it’s fair.”

Again, here is how the brawl went down (summarized excellently by Rosiak):

The incident began during the third inning of the Brewers’ 3-2, 14-inning victory over the Pirates. After Gomez tripled off Cole, the two exchanged words, leading to both dugouts emptying. Gomez was eventually tackled by Snider, who wasn’t even playing in the game, and Maldonado punched Snider in the face in the ensuing melee.

Martin was also involved in the scrum with Gomez, Snider and Maldonado.

Snider, Martin, and Gomez are all appealing their suspensions, while Maldonado accepted his (note that Maldonado is the only player involved in that brawl who’s actually apologized, this via his Twitter account). The only fine that anyone has actually discussed (which is officially unconfirmed, but was reported by ESPN’s Buster Olney and discussed by Yahoo’s Big League Stew blog here) was Maldonado’s $2500 fine — this may seem shockingly low, but Maldonado makes the major-league minimum (or not much above that), and $2500 is a big bite out of his paycheck.

Mind, I was concerned that Maldonado might get hit with a really bad fine — something like $25,000 or even $50,000. That would hurt him disproportionately hard, as the major-league minimum is $500,000 — when you compare that to Gomez, who’s making $7 million, you can see where a $50,000 fine would hurt Maldonado much more than Gomez, or Martin (who’s making $8.5 million), or even Snider (who’s making $1.2 million — all salaries courtesy of http://www.baseballplayersalaries.com).

At any rate, my own personal belief is that Martin’s suspension is fair, Snider’s is too low, Cole should’ve been fined but not suspended, Gomez’s suspension is fair, and Maldonado’s is too long but the fine — if accurately reported and they’re not leaving a zero off the end of it — is acceptable.

Anyway, as Gomez, Martin and Snider are all appealing their suspensions and fines, it’s impossible to know what’ll happen next. It’s possible that Gomez’s suspension may be cut a game, or they might even add two for him not accepting it immediately. Snider — to my mind, he didn’t get a long enough suspension as it was, so I think his appeal is baseless, especially as he was the first guy off the bench for either team. And Martin, as a long-time catcher in MLB, certainly knew better than to do what he did . . . so to my mind, Martin’s suspension and fine will get upheld.

Why Cole did not get fined, though, is beyond me. Even a token fine would’ve been acceptable ($500 to his favorite charity, perhaps) . . . but not giving him one sets a very bad precedent.

Aside from that, I’d still like to know why Brewers bench coach Jerry Narron was thrown out of the Brewers-Pirates game, because obviously MLB did not feel he deserved either a suspension or a fine — and if he did something so egregiously wrong that he deserved to be ejected, why wasn’t he fined and/or suspended as well?

What do you think of the fines and suspensions? Let me know in the comments. (Surely this blog, of all blogs, will draw a few of those?)

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2 Responses

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  1. Despite them trying to convince people that they are a fair organization, MLB has often made it extremely clear which teams they support, and which ones they keep in the organization simply because of the money it brings in. They come up with ‘reasons’ for their decisions, but in the long run, it’s the decision makers saying “We like team X, which means we need to penalize team Y.”

    That’s my belief, at least.

    Keith McComb

    April 22, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    • I agree, Keith. And because Bud Selig used to own the Brewers, he tries to bend over backwards to avoid any sign of possibly being too lenient with them.

      I truly do not believe Martin Maldonado deserved a five-game suspension.

      Barb Caffrey

      April 23, 2014 at 1:27 am


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