The Right Time To "Cadillac"...
...for me will be when I die. That'll be my next ride in one of those bad boys, because they're largely out of my pay grade and just aren't my style.
In baseball, "Cadillac" is a verb, meaning to strut, gloat, hot-dog, self-admire. If one was looking for a text-book example, you probably wouldn't use what Carlos Gomez did to Gerrit Cole Easter Sunday in Pittsburgh. The game has seen far worse, and the brawl that ensued seemed disproportionate to the offense.
This would be where the perfunctory display of the fight video would go but we trust you've seen it roughly four million times by now.
Gomez' insult that sunny day wasn't to posture after his blast. It was to posture without his blast CLEARING THE WALL. I've never done anything Cadillac-worthy on a major league field of endeavor but one of the rules of the trade is that one doesn't show off unless one has done something show-off worthy. A blast off the wall, while nice, doesn't allow one to slather on the mustard.
Gomez' slow saunter out of the box not only irritated Cole but it also cost the Crew a possible inside-the-park home run, a tally they could've sorely used and one that would've given Milwaukee a nine inning win. Minus that, they had to battle 14 innings and go deep into an already tired bullpen with no off-day until Thursday.
It also left his team short-handed: Logan Shafer was already a no-go so manager Ron Roenicke had to shuffle and shake and hope for the best from a patchwork outfield.
And, Gomez' ejection left the club without its leadoff hitter, it's spark plug and one of its best offensive weapons on a day when hot-hitting Aramis Ramirez was already getting an afternoon off.
Other than that, Car-Go did great. Just great.
Oh, one more thing: when Gomez got to third base only to have Cole dump his bucket on him, #27 should've shut up and taken it like a man because, as troubling as it is to hear Brewers fans, Cole was right. In fact, he did Gomez a favor by telling him what he thought face-to-face. Other MLB pitchers would've greeted the next Brewers batter with a fastball in the neck to show their displeasure.
It's one of those things you just...don't...do.
It's easy to see this dust-up through blue and gold goggles, a view that suggests Carlos' really didn't do anything all that wrong and that Cole in general/the Pirates in particular over-reacted. That isn't reality. And, fairly or not, Gomez has a rep, one that got additional fuel late last season when he did pretty much the same thing at a game in Atlanta, triggering another brawl. Swagger is fine when you've done something. It's empty when you're a bottom-feeding club playing for nothing late in the calendar as was the case back in September.
Gomez is out three games, and teammate Martin Maldanado is suspended five. Cole, to the vexation of many in Crew nation, skates but some of his teammates including Travis Snider are going to sit, too. Snider was on the business end of a Maldanado hay-maker.
Which brings up another thing: Snider and Maldanado were spectators that afternoon. Neither was in the line-up and had nothing to do with the original flare-up yet were the ones who poured gallons of gasoline on the fire.
It's time for baseball to take a page out of--ready for this?--hockey's book. My buddy Mike Wojiechowski at the Milwaukee Admirals joins ESPN's Rick Sutcliffe and others who say it's time for the pasttime to make an new edict: anyone who leaves the bench to join an on-field fight is out of the game AND suspended for a few after. Let the hotheads settle things on their own without the tired ritual of having benches clear and bullpens empty. Most of these things are meaningless scrapes devoid of contact but a few--like Sunday's--go weapons-grade and can result in injuries far worse than the shiner Snider is sporting this week. Bud Selig could top off his run as Commissioner by bringing an end to the tired, played-out charade that is the baseball fight.
Gomez is a treasure, a player finally reaching his long-talked-of potential and it's happening before our very eyes in Milwaukee. He put up big numbers last season, saved games with amazing catches and throws. Carlos won a Gold Glove--a moment commemorated via the unique currency of the bobblehead this coming Sunday at Miller Park. Gomez can do great things but also shows flashes of a million dollar talent sporting a ten-cent head.
He's better than that, and the Brewers are a better team when he's around, doing what he does best instead of pulling the occasional stunt that embarasses himself and the ballclub.