Carlos Gomez challenges baseball’s code

Former Minnesota Twin Carlos Gomez, who has emerged as a star with the Milwaukee Brewers, is lucky that Ron Gardenhire isn’t his manager anymore.

Gomez thought he hit a homerun against the Pirates yesterday, so he flipped his bat and admired his work (another view is that he thought he was going to be out). But the ball didn’t go over the fence; it went off the fence and Gomez had to start running.

Gardy would’ve yanked Gomez off the field and buried him. It violates the code of the game.

Gomez is all about emotion when he plays baseball and Fox Sports suggests today that it’s a cultural thing that baseball might want to start encouraging that a little more.

If Gomez’s story sounds familiar, it should. Replace “Carlos Gomez” with “Yasiel Puig” or “Jose Fernandez,” and the basic theme holds true: A Latin American-born player has become a star in the major leagues, and he’s supposed to “tone down” his celebrations and remove the individuality from his game because “we don’t do that here.”

Well . . . why not? Because baseball’s playing, coaching, executive and media establishments don’t remember Joe DiMaggio pimping his home runs? Why do the old unwritten rules apply when there has been such profound change in the demographics of those playing — and watching — the game? Shouldn’t our national pastime mirror the evolving desires of the U.S. ticket-buying public in the social media age?

“If Gomez rockets a ball to center against a division rival and tosses his bat out of competitive joie de vivre, then, really, where is the harm in that?” the columnist writes.

Matt Snyder at CBS Sports argues essentially the same thing: that baseball is oversensitive.

I continue to be baffled by this mindset where it’s OK for baseball players to pout over how an opponent reacts. It happens all the time, so I’m not singling out Gerrit Cole, as he’s simply the latest example. In this specific case, why does he care how Gomez reacts in the batter’s box? And couldn’t it be argued that Gomez cost himself a chance at an inside-the-park homer by standing there admiring his shot? If someone argues that Gomez looked like a fool, shouldn’t Cole just let him look like a fool?

“I’m not apologizing for nothing I did today,” Gomez tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “This is my job; I’ve been doing it for eight years like that. They know I play like that. It’s not to disrespect nobody. So if they take it like that, they don’t like it, that’s fine and I’m fine with it. It’s not a big deal.”

  • Baseball logic can be so screwed up. If Gomez was left in this game, the opposing pitcher would have felt justified to throw a 98 MPH fastball at Gomez’s head. A cocky bat flip deserves a potentially life threatening head injury. The unwritten rules!

    • kevinfromminneapolis

      Pitchers rarely throw at heads, but one in the back would have been in order and ended it.

  • Dave

    To me there’s a difference between being cocky and inciting a brawl. A pattern is emerging here; Gomez picks fights. If he’s going to insist on acting like an idiot, then why bemoan Gerrit Cole calling him out?

    I’d have benched him simply because he probably could have scored had he not hammed it up. Don’t think that these guys don’t know how to make SportsCenter.

    • If Brian McCann or Jeff Locke don’t take offense and start yapping, does the situation escalate? It isn’t like Gomez started looking for a fight once he arrived at 3rd base. Gomez isn’t innocent but I find it laughable that the guardians of baseball’s unwritten rules don’t receive the same acrimony for their role in starting these fights.

  • David

    go ahead and jaw, but don’t get yourself thrown out of the game.

  • kevinfromminneapolis

    When has Gardy ever done a Matt Wiliams and yanked a player? Heck, it’s so rare it’s news when Matt Williams did it. I wasn’t a huge fan of GoGo’s antics yesterday, but with a local team so dead in its mindset I’ll take anything.

  • MikeB

    You cannot show emotion because that might show up your opponent. But a grown man can have a live temper tantrum because of a call and that is considered normal.

  • Very fun post from CBS Sports’ baseball blog:

    “Watch Jim “Hot Dog” Thome ruin baseball with his bat flip”

  • Gary F

    First of all, don’t get cocky until you know it’s actually a home run.

    But I also don’t want baseball to be like pro football when a guy makes a tackle for 3 yard loss and then celebrates.

    Bud Grant always said, “act like you have been there many times before”.

  • RegularJoe62

    Gardy would have read him the riot act for not running out the play, not because of violating a baseball “code.”

    Hustling on the base pads is fundamental baseball. I couldn’t care less about baseball’s myriad unwritten codes. Just follow the rules, and give your best to the game.