Baseball's unwritten rules are a sacred thing, and Carlos Gomez started a brawl Wednesday by breaking them.
The Milwaukee Brewers center fielder hit his 23rd home run of the season in the top of the first inning against the Atlanta Braves.
Rather than simply starting his trot, Gomez stared down opposing pitcher Paul Maholm, as Kevin McAlpin of the Braves Radio Network described:
Carlos Gomez homers to left...Brewers up 1-0. Words being exchanged as Gomez admired it. And the benches clear— Kevin McAlpin (@KevinMcAlpin) September 25, 2013
He eventually made his way around the bases, albeit slowly. Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman yelled at Gomez as he passed first, then continued barking at the Milwaukee outfielder while he rounded the bases. Then Braves catcher Brian McCann met him before reaching home plate:
Braves/Brewers scuffle after Carlos Gomez hot dogged on a HR. McCann met him 1/2 way down the 3rd base line. Gomez still hasnt touched plate— Gus Ramsey (@GusRamsey) September 25, 2013
The MLB and MLB Network Twitter accounts described the rest of the action as the benches cleared:
Tensions heat up in Atlanta as both benches clear after a Carlos Gomez home run. Gomez and Freddie Freeman have been ejected. #MLBTonight— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) September 25, 2013
Gomez was subsequently ejected, as was Freeman for involving himself in the scuffle and shouting at Gomez. Although the batter did not step on home plate, he was awarded the run due to interference.
Do you have a problem with Carlos Gomez showboating?
Gomez's home run was simply the latest in a career-long stretch of dominance over Maholm. Following Wednesday's round-tripper, the outfielder is now 9-for-20 with two long balls against the veteran lefthanded pitcher.
Maholm has twice hit Gomez with pitches over the course of their careers, certainly contributing to the outfielder's irritability. The latest came back in June, when Maholm plunked Gomez in the knee.
Still, it's obvious the rest of the Braves took exception to the 27-year-old All-Star's showboating. The end result was a bench-clearing brawl that led to multiple ejections only two outs into the game. After the game, Gomez expressed regret for his actions:
The way I carried myself on the field is unacceptable, I should have done better to control myself and set a good example.— Carlos Gomez (@C_Gomez27) September 26, 2013
In the heat of the moment I let my emotions get the best of me. As a professional athlete I have to respect the game.— Carlos Gomez (@C_Gomez27) September 26, 2013
While the Brewers won 4-0, Atlanta will get the last laugh in this battle, though, as the squad has already clinched a spot in the postseason, while the Brewers only have a few games left before ending an extremely disappointing season that saw the face of the franchise, Ryan Braun, suspended for PED use.