Brian McCann (left) took serious exception to Carlos Gomez's response after hitting a home run. (AP)
Stop me if you've heard this one before: somebody hit a home run, the opposing team didn't like the reaction and declared a violation of the Unwritten Rules, whereupon things got overheated. In this case, the hitter was the Brewers' Carlos Gomez, the opposition was the Braves, and a brawl broke out before Gomez could even touch home plate.
Playing in Atlanta, Gomez came to bat with one out in the top of the first inning of a scoreless game and crushed an 83 mph changeup that starter Paul Maholm left right over the plate:
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You can see that Gomez was jawing with Freddie Freeman as he rounded first base, by which point the Braves announcers noted that Maholm was shouting at him as well. Before Gomez could touch home plate, he was intercepted by catcher Brian McCann, who was extremely heated, and both benches emptied in the middle of the play. Things came to blows, with the announcers noting that reserve outfielder Reed Johnson landed a right cross on Gomez as the scrum headed to the backstop before dissipating (when I highlighted Johnson's ability to come off the bench to deliver a big hit earlier today, this wasn't what I had in mind).
Gomez never did touch home plate, but the umpires awarded the Brewers the run as if he did, which makes sense, because technically, he was interfered with. He was ejected just the same (replaced by Logan Schafer), as were Freeman and backup catcher Gerald Laird. Chris Johnson, who started for the Braves at third base, moved to first in Freeman's place, while Elliot Johnson, who started at second base, moved to third — yes, the Braves were moving their Johnsons around over this — with Dan Uggla coming into the game at second. Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez left in favor of Yuniesky Betancourt after being elbowed in the jaw by Freeman.
Curiously, McCann was not ejected, but it seems as though he should have been. For all of the verbal nonsense that transpired, there would have been no brawl had he not blocked Gomez. In putting on his tough-guy act, he was just as guilty of showboating as Gomez. This isn't even the first time McCann has been in the middle of one of these situations this month. Just two weeks ago, he was part of a post-homer dustup involving Jose Fernandez.
Whether or not the Braves go on to win their first playoff series since 2001 this year remains to be seen, but woe to the opponent who revels in his home run a moment for too long.