Column: Milwaukee-Pittsburgh Easter Sunday brawl a memorable one
It was an exciting Easter Sunday at PNC Park when the Pittsburgh Pirates met up with the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers ended the 14-inning game with a 3-2 victory over the Pirates. It was a miracle the teams made it that long after a bench-clearing brawl in the third inning.
After Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez fired a shot to deep center, he tossed his bat and paused as if he knew he had hit a home run. The ball fell short of clearing the wall, but Pirates centerfielder Andrew McCutchen stumbled in his attempt to snag the ball for an out. By the time McCutchen threw the ball in, Gomez was at third. Gomez has a history of being a showboat after hits. In the past he has been involved in verbal fights for doing so, most recently last September against the Braves. Following Gomez's hit on Sunday, Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole walked over to third base to exchange words with him. It is unclear exactly what was said, but it was enough to rile up Gomez, who went after Cole. This provoked both benches to clear.
For a moment it seemed that would be as far as the fight would go, as teammates settled each other down. That is until Gomez started swinging. The yelling match quickly escalated into a full on brawl, with multiple people throwing punches. By the end of the brawl, participants including Gomez, Pirates outfielder Travis Snider and the Brewers bench coach, Jerry Narron were all ejected. Gomez will be facing serious fines and most likely suspension.
"I'm not apologetic for anything that I did today," Gomez told the media after his ejection. Gomez claimed he was "just doing his job" as a player-he heard something he didn't like so he let Cole know. Punches were thrown from members of both teams, including Milwaukee's Martin Maldonado, who knocked Snider's hat off with a punch. With Gomez's building reputation as an aggressive player, he may become a problem for the Brewers. When asked about Gomez's character, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke didn't seem too concerned. While he noted Gomez's tendency to cause conflict, he recognized that "Cole started it all" and "If you start it, we're going to respond."
Most fights in the ballpark result in players paying fines-the amount determined by their role and severity of attitude towards the umpires. Though baseball brawls aren't as common as other sports such as hockey, there have been many memorable bench clearers over the year.
One of the most talked about baseball brawls occurred in the 2003 ALCS Playoffs. With a rivalry as intense as the Red Sox and Yankees, it wasn't very surprising there was nasty play during the entire game. The trouble began when Karim Garcia was hit with Pedro Martinez's fastball. In order to get back at the Sox, the Yankees fought back with a wild pitch intended to hit Manny Ramirez. That fight went down in history as soon as Ramirez knocked 70-year-old Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer to the ground.
Though Gomez didn't brawl with the elderly, he certainly made this Easter Sunday memorable for baseball fans.
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