Baseball should have stiff penalties for brawls

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By Erik Prado

I’m a traditionalist when it comes to some aspects of baseball.

162-game season? Love it. Classic uniforms? Don’t switch. Stiff suspensions for users of performance enhancing drugs? No-brainer.

But I also accept that eventually, change will come to the sport. It started when instant replay was originally implemented only for home runs, and finally, full instant replay is readily available.

Baseball needs to change the way it handles brawls or scuffles. Or whatever it is called when 25 men all run to the aid of their teammate.

Look no further than Sunday’s “brawl” between the Milwaukee Brewers’ Carlos Gomez and various members of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Gomez made excellent contact and admired a masterful hit. It would have been an inside-the-park home run had he hustled out of the box, but instead he stared at his hit and then ran full speed to settle for a triple.

Pirates’ pitcher Gerritt Cole then said some words. Tempers flared, punches were thrown and the bullpen guys, as usual, came running for nothing.

Four players, including Gomez, were suspended.

So Gomez was showboating and marveling at his hit. How does Cole think that is wrong, especially in a sport that at times needs excitement to drive up interest?

The issue here isn’t the feisty player Gomez is. It’s how Major League Baseball is not strict enough when it comes to physical altercations. They are inconsistent when punishing pitchers as well.

Pitchers do get reprimanded at times for blatantly throwing at opposing batters. But not if you’re Ryan Dempster and that batter is Alex Rodriguez. If A-Rod would have charged the mound after Dempster blatantly threw three pitches behind him, he would have been thrown out immediately.  

MLB should make it so that any player leaving the bench to aid in a fight on the field will be tossed and possibly suspended later. There are enough players already on the field and umpires to break up anything.

Players in the NFL, NHL and NBA are immediately ejected if they leave the bench during an on-the field altercation. Baseball players are only suspended if they react physically.

This would also cause some batters to think twice about charging the mound if they know will not be backed up.

Of the four players suspended, only Gomez was originally involved. Cole’s words provoked this incident, yet Cole did not receive any punishment.

Cole started it all because he took issue with how his bad pitch did not fool Gomez.

That’s baseball though. If Cole is going to complain every time and opposing batter stares at a home run or well-hit ball, then the Pirates might be in a few more brawls before 2014 ends.

Sports in general are in a weird flux. Professional and college football are trying to make an already violent game safer. The NBA has done a wonderful job of ridding itself the “gangsta” label seen in the early decade. The NHL can be violent at times, but it too is trying its best to  curb the violence (right Brent Seabrook?).

Large fights are preventable in baseball. Pitchers are dangerous weapons on their own, as are hitters who let a bat fly from their hands or hit a line drive towards the pitcher.

There is no need for players to get unnecessarily hurt and suspended because Gerritt Cole does not appreciate show-boating.

Erik is a senior in Media. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @e_prada.