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. Odd, and unfulfilling, season ends for A’s

    Oct 1, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT

    Eric Sogard A's Getty Images

    Somehow, it all seemed to tie this strange 2014 season together in one fitting package, though the end result wasn’t what anyone in green and gold wanted.

  2. Cardinals’ playoff rotation does not include Michael Wacha

    Oct 1, 2014, 2:48 PM EDT

    wacha getty Getty Images

    Adam Wainwright will start Game 1 against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.

  3. Sorry! The “Royals showed those ‘Moneyball’ nerds!” narrative doesn’t hold water

    Oct 1, 2014, 2:36 PM EDT

    royals logo Getty Images

    The Royals, like just about every other team in baseball, have an analytics department. Apologies if that messes with your preconceptions.

  4. Lyle Overbay is “99.9 percent sure” he’s retiring

    Oct 1, 2014, 2:14 PM EDT

    Milwaukee Brewers v San Francisco Giants Getty Images

    At least he got to pitch this season. That was fun.

  5. The beauty of belief

    Oct 1, 2014, 1:53 PM EDT

    Nosotros Creemos! Getty Images

    The Royals may not have won the AL Wild Card if not for the confounding decisions of manager Ned Yost.

  6. Carlos Ruiz undergoes shoulder surgery

    Oct 1, 2014, 1:47 PM EDT

    Carlos Ruiz AP AP

    He hit just .229 with a .659 OPS in 67 games after June 1 and batted .193 in September.

  7. The woman who was going to get a puppy if the Royals won? Yeah, she’s getting a puppy

    Oct 1, 2014, 1:34 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 1.33.41 PM

    But there’s a tale of bribery involved in all of this too.

  8. Pirates go with three catchers on Wild Card game roster

    Oct 1, 2014, 1:15 PM EDT

    russell martin getty Getty Images

    Starting pitchers Francisco Liriano and Gerrit Cole off the Wild Card game roster, which is fairly typical.

  9. The Diamondbacks announce their managerial candidates

    Oct 1, 2014, 12:11 PM EDT

    diamondbacks logo

    Not a ton of glitzy names here. At least not yet.

  10. Could Billy Beane bust up the A’s?

    Oct 1, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    Billy Beane Billy Beane

    The A’s went all-in and busted. Now what will Billy Beane do?

  11. Adam Dunn still plans to retire

    Oct 1, 2014, 9:40 AM EDT

    Adam Dunn AP

    Adam Dunn has no problem with not playing last night. And, apparently, does not plan to play again.

  12. Derek Jeter launches an athlete publishing portal: “The Players’ Tribune”

    Oct 1, 2014, 9:02 AM EDT

    derek jeter getty Getty Images

    He says it will allow athletes a place to talk with “no filter.” In reality, it’s likely to have way, way more filters than what currently exist.

  13. Playoff Reset: The National League Wild Card Game

    Oct 1, 2014, 8:29 AM EDT

    Andrew McCutchen AP

    Bumgarner vs. Volquez is, on paper anyway, something of a mismatch. But as we saw in last night’s game, predicting these things is a fool’s errand.

  14. Bailed out by offense, Ned Yost lives another day

    Oct 1, 2014, 2:02 AM EDT

    Wild Card Game - Oakland Athletics v Kansas City Royals Getty Images

    Yost’s controversial call fails to doom Royals after all.

Featured video

Pitching vs. history in NL wild card game
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. D. Jeter (3424)
  2. C. Kershaw (2607)
  3. R. Martin (2510)
  4. A. Rodriguez (2172)
  5. D. Gordon (2006)
  1. J. Altuve (1970)
  2. J. Hamilton (1949)
  3. I. Suzuki (1753)
  4. D. Ortiz (1735)
  5. E. Volquez (1710)