Kyle Lohse threw an 89 pitch complete-game shutout last night! Against the NL East Champion Atlanta Braves no less! It was breathtakingly amazing!
THAT should be the story of last night’s Brewers game. Unfortunately what many fans and media are talking about today is not Kyle Lohse’s near perfect outing. It is instead The Bench Clearing Brawl. And though I’d much rather talk about Lohse’s diving sliders and sexy curves and gloriously movement-laden fastballs and perfectly placed changeups, I’ll add to the pile and give you my thoughts on The Bench Clearing Brawl – as a Brewers fan and as a baseball fan.
I do not defend the actions of Carlos Gomez. I do, however, understand them. Carlos felt that Paul Maholm hit him intentionally in the June 23rd Brewers v. Braves game at Miller Park. It doesn’t matter whether that was truly the case or not. Carlos believed it to be true. Not only did Carlos believe the HP was intentional, he also suffered knee problems because of it. Add to this the fact that Carlos is an intense, emotional guy. Triple trouble. Maholm hit Carlos, Carlos wanted to hit Maholm. Badly. So he did. Moon shot! Good for him! AND, applause applause, he did it in a non-violent, non-collarbone-breaking, non-pitcher-out-for-four-weeks way, unlike another Carlos I know but don’t love. If only it had ended there.
Not only did Carlos watch his HR a little too long, he went further, embellishing the extended pause at home plate with an “I hit you, you hit me” quip directed at Maholm. That was too much. I don’t blame Braves 1B Freeman for reacting. He was defending his pitcher. That’s expected in baseball. Completely unexpected was Braves catcher Brian McCann deciding to make the journey from his post at home plate to the middle of the third base line and stonewalling Carlos, not allowing him to touch home. That reaction goes beyond defending your pitcher. McCann doing that is no better than Carlos admiring his homerun and yapping about it afterward. Every announcer I’ve heard call the play said the same thing about McCann’s antics, “We’ve never seen that before”. There’s a reason for that. You shouldn’t see that. And after what McCann did, the fact that he was not ejected from that game absolutely baffles me.
In the heat of the moment, emotions run high and emotional players sometimes do things they shouldn’t do. Brewers fans love Gomez and Braves fans love McCann much BECAUSE of that emotion. Stuff happens. Players learn from it. Hopefully everyone can move on and all will be forgiven, if not forgotten, by Opening Day 2014 when the Braves play the Brewers at Miller Park.
One more thing. Here’s a link with Brewers and Braves TV and radio calls on The Bench Clearing Brawl http://wapc.mlb.com/mil/play/?content_id=30950699&topic_id=vtp_must_c&game_pk=undefined. I am less than impressed with WCNN radio commentary. “Bush league”? “Juiced up”? Uncalled for. Bob Uecker would never say things like that. Even in the heat of the moment.