Skip to content

Stop being slaves to baseball’s stupid macho orthodoxy

Sep 26, 2013, 8:56 AM EDT

Brewers Braves Baseball

Just to review, my take on the Braves-Brewers thing last night is that while Carlos Gomez was certainly out of line, Brian McCann and the Braves were too and that they are the ones responsible for what should have been a minor thing turning into a fight that caused punches to be thrown and a player (Aramis Ramirez) to be hurt. McCann’s walking up the baseline to confront Gomez was pretty damn provocative and immature, frankly, and the playoff-bound Braves should be both smarter and better than that.

Oh, and for what it’s worth, Gomez made a full public apology for his behavior after the game. I’ve yet to hear McCann or his teammates do the same.

But the larger takeaway here is my continued amazement at the pro-Braves, pro-Brian McCann sentiments among commenters and Twitter folk.  The sentiments basically hold what a commenter said in this morning’s And That Happened:

Brian McCann was just acting the team leader on the last home stand of his 8 yr career on a team struggling to get going before the playoffs. The player quotes show the team loved the move. A blogger may not like making the stand but obviously you’ve not speaking for MLB players.

I can’t tell you how many people responded to me with some variation of this last night. “NO ballplayer would stand for Gomez’s taunting!” they say. “This is how it has always been in baseball!”  There’s an added dose of “How can you not defend the team you root for,” which is beyond stupid, but I’ve come to accept the fact that most fans have a double-standard when it comes to their team’s behavior compared to that of other teams.

As for the “team leader” jive, well, that’s pretty stupid too. A team leader doesn’t do things which harm his team’s chances to win games, and by instigating a fight that’s what McCann did. He should have been ejected and is lucky he wasn’t. Freddie Freeman was. Reed Johnson and McCann probably face suspensions now, which will further hurt the team at some point. All for what? To protect the Braves honor? Against what? Carlos Freakin’ Gomez? 

Fact is, if the Braves had just let Gomez taunt his head off, the only conversation afterward and into today would’ve been how childish and immature Carlos Gomez is. No one would’ve cared. No one would’ve thought less of the Braves. The only people who believe otherwise are the sorts of people who are far too hung up on honor and ego to begin with. The sorts of people who are so hung up on baseball’s hidebound unwritten rules and codes of conduct that they probably wake up each morning and say a brief prayer to a candlelit portrait of Tony La Russa embracing Chris Carpenter.

Spare me. Spare me the “no player would stand for that!” and the “you must not know anything about baseball if you think the Braves were out of line” baloney, tough guy. There are all sorts of things people do because they’ve always been done. That doesn’t make them right or proper or mature even if does make them something less than unexpected.

If you want to defend McCann and the Braves’ increasing fixation on the proper behavior by opponents when they hit home runs (see, Jose Fernandez and Bryce Harper) make an argument for such behavior being reasonable on the merits without reference to tradition. And if you do, tell me if you act like that — if you get in people’s faces, preach what is proper and what is not and push things to the point of fisticuffs — when you confront the abundant immaturity all of us see every day in real life.

And if you say that baseball is different and that baseball is not “real life” and is thus subject to its own rules, explain why that should be so.  Because I see no reason why it should be that way, even if everyone has always assumed that it is. And even if Brian McCann, Tony La Russa and whoever else protects these brain-dead codes says so.

Latest Posts
  1. Matt Garza will rejoin the Brewers’ rotation on Wednesday

    Aug 30, 2014, 11:45 PM EDT

    Matt Garza Matt Garza

    The Brewers will get Matt Garza back in the rotation on Wednesday, when they’ll take on the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

  2. Brandon Belt still 10 days away from resuming baseball activities

    Aug 30, 2014, 11:05 PM EDT

    brandon belt giants getty Getty Images

    Brandon Belt will be limited to cardio for another week and a half. The first baseman has been sidelined since early August with concussion symptoms.

  3. Orioles acquire Kelly Johnson from the Red Sox

    Aug 30, 2014, 10:46 PM EDT

    Kelly Johnson Kelly Johnson

    Kelly Johnson completes his tour of the AL East as the Orioles acquired him from the Red Sox on Saturday evening.

  4. The Angels had interest in acquiring A.J. Burnett from the Phillies

    Aug 30, 2014, 10:20 PM EDT

    The Angels, searching for a rotation upgrade after losing Garrett Richards to an injury, had interest in A.J. Burnett of the Phillies, but the right-hander’s player option for 2015 was a deterrent.

  5. Orioles acquire Alejandro De Aza from the White Sox

    Aug 30, 2014, 9:29 PM EDT

    Alejandro De Aza Alejandro De Aza

    The Orioles acquired outfielder Alejandro De Aza from the White Sox in exchange for a pair of low-level minor league pitchers on Saturday.

  6. Dustin Pedroia exits Saturday’s game with a head injury

    Aug 30, 2014, 9:10 PM EDT

    Dustin Pedroia Dustin Pedroia

    Dustin Pedroia took an elbow to the head in the second inning of Saturday’s game against the Rays, and had to leave the game.

  7. Daniel Hudson will return to the major leagues as a reliever

    Aug 30, 2014, 8:15 PM EDT

    daniel hudson getty Getty Images

    It’s been more than two years, but Daniel Hudson will return to the major leagues on Tuesday or Wednesday, pitching out of the Diamodnbacks’ bullpen.

  8. Hanley Ramirez a late addition to Dodgers’ lineup Saturday

    Aug 30, 2014, 7:20 PM EDT

    Hanley Ramirez Hanley Ramirez

    Hanley Ramirez worked out quickly in front of manager Don Mattingly and trainer Stan Conte, who deemed him fit to play on Saturday against the Padres.

  9. Rangers activate Derek Holland from the disabled list

    Aug 30, 2014, 6:25 PM EDT

    derek holland getty Getty Images

    Derek Holland will make his 2014 debut on Tuesday against the Royals, also helping the Rangers claim a major league record.

  10. Don Mattingly on Yasiel Puig: “It’s hard to be really emotional and play 162″

    Aug 30, 2014, 5:41 PM EDT

    Yasiel Puig Getty Getty Images

    Puig has really scuffled this month, hitting .218/.306/.241 with two extra-base hits (both doubles) over 24 games.

  11. Blue Jays throw one-hitter against Yankees

    Aug 30, 2014, 4:29 PM EDT

    94676dc1dc0beb29ee4c0171e07ca158 Getty Images

    Drew Hutchison and Aaron Sanchez shut down the Jacoby Ellsbury-less Yankees.

  12. Report: White Sox expected to target Victor Martinez this offseason

    Aug 30, 2014, 3:50 PM EDT

    Victor Martinez AP AP

    The White Sox are reportedly interested in signing Victor Martinez away from a division rival.

  13. Astros claim right-hander Samuel Deduno off waivers from the Twins

    Aug 30, 2014, 2:58 PM EDT

    Samuel Deduno Getty Getty Images

    Deduno has split this season between the starting rotation and the bullpen, putting up a 4.60 ERA and 74/41 K/BB ratio in 92 innings over eight starts and 22 relief appearances.

  14. Bryce Harper is 15th player in MLB history to reach 50 career homers before age-22 season

    Aug 30, 2014, 2:07 PM EDT

    Bryce Harper Getty Getty Images

    Bryce Harper hit one of six home runs for the Nationals last night in an 8-3 victory over the Mariners. In doing so, he joined some impressive company.

  15. The Dodgers took the shift to the extreme last night

    Aug 30, 2014, 11:05 AM EDT

    dodgers shift

    And wouldn’t you know it, it worked.

  16. UPDATE: Hot-hitting Jacoby Ellsbury out Saturday with ankle injury

    Aug 30, 2014, 11:01 AM EDT

    Jacoby Ellsbury AP AP

    Ellsbury injured his left ankle on a slide into home plate on Friday night.

  17. UPDATE: Steve Pearce considered day-to-day after MRI shows no tears in abdominal

    Aug 30, 2014, 10:36 AM EDT

    Steve Pearce AP AP

    Pearce owns a surprising .289/.354/.532 batting line with 16 home runs and 37 RBI over 85 games this season.

Featured video

Who are the favorites for Rookie of the Year?
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Soler (3632)
  2. Y. Molina (3251)
  3. R. Castillo (2887)
  4. B. Posey (2103)
  5. D. Murphy (2072)
  1. D. Wright (2063)
  2. B. Colon (1966)
  3. M. Wacha (1883)
  4. A. Rizzo (1846)
  5. E. O'Flaherty (1776)