On Thursday night, the Phillies will play their final series of the season in Atlanta against a Braves team that has won the NL East and is looking to secure home field advantage throughout the National League playoffs.
But more than that, the Phils will be blessed with the opportunity to be schooled on how to play the game “the right way” by the keepers of baseball’s integrity flame.
What a most fortunate opportunity.
Last night, as the Braves finished their series against the Milwaukee Brewers with a 4-0 loss, All-Star outfielder Carlos Gomez had a run-in with virtually the entire Atlanta Braves team after hitting a homer off starter Paul Maholm.
Now, it’s clear that Gomez was doing a lot of talking, even before getting into the batter’s box. And there already was apparently some bad blood between Gomez and Maholm after the pitcher hit Carlos on the knee earlier in the year, forcing him to leave the game.
So when Gomez hit a monster rocket off Maholm and admired it, the “Braves” of Atlanta swung into action.
Look here’s the deal. Gomez was partially in the wrong here. He got chirpy with Maholm as he rounded the bases and you can understand why some Atlanta players might be upset. It would not have been out of line for Maholm to drill Gomez in the back in his next at-bat, which probably would have triggered a bench clearing brawl anyway.
But when McCann stood on the third base line and blocked Gomez’ attempt to touch home plate, all the while getting in his face and screaming obscenities at him, all I could think was how restrained Gomez was in not socking him in the mouth.
If you got in someone’s face like that on the street, the outcome would have been different.
If this were an isolated incident, you could maybe cut McCann and the Braves a little slack. But it isn’t. In fact, just last week, there was a similar incident when Miami starter Jose Fernandez hit a long bomb off the Braves.
You know what McCann? If you don’t like people celebrating home runs against you, THEN TELL YOUR PITCHERS TO STOP THROWING MEATBALLS UP AT THE PLATE THAT CAN GET HIT 500 FEET.
Now, as Phillies fans, perhaps we’re in the minority in placing the blame here. Surely, there are people taking the side of Atlanta in this latest incident…
Sorry, this is on Carlos Gomez.
And I’ll admit, Gomez was acting like a punk. But after last week’s incident with Fernandez, the Gomez kerfuffle only makes the Braves look more like oversensitive crybabies.
I GOT HOME FROM WORK AND DID A REALLY OVER-THE-TOP CELEBRATION AND THEN BRIAN MCCANN STOOD IN FRONT OF MY DOOR AND WOULDN’T LET ME IN — NOT BUSTER OLNEY (@TRIPPINGOLNEY) September 25, 2013
I must have missed the announcement, but congratulations to Brian McCann for being elected baseball’s home run trot sheriff. — Woe, Doctor! (@woedoctor) September 25, 2013
Ohmygosh, Brian McCann’s feelings, you guys.
— Justin Klugh (@TBOHblog) September 26, 2013
Now to be fair, Gomez did apologize for his antics after the game, and he should have. But that doesn’t mean Atlanta acted appropriately either.
The bottom line is Atlanta has bigger fish to fry here. They need to worry about winning baseball games and getting ready for the playoffs, not being the arbiter of all that’s good and holy in baseball.
The good news the Phillies don’t hit home runs anymore, so we’re unlikely to see anything like this over the weekend in Atlanta.