The Braves and Brewers exchanged in fisticuffs last night, in a completely necessary brawl during the last week of the season.
On the one hand, the Braves, who have long since run away with their division title, are basically playing to kill time. On the other, the Brewers hate baseball so much, they choose to not be very good at it, disgracing themselves and their country.
But the worst part is, they employ players with emotions; brash, young, vibrant players who routinely get under the skin of opposing teams. Maybe they slide too hard. Maybe they make the wrong comment to the press. Maybe they stare too long at a home run. No matter what, they are the villains, driving the game of baseball – and with it, America – into the ground.
Thankfully, we have heroes like Brian McCann to save us.
Last night, the Brewers’ feisty All-Star center fielder, Carlos Gomez, was still smoldering over getting hit by a pitch from the Braves’ Paul Maholm back in June. When he came to the plate to face Maholm last night, he was hacking mightily to really shove it in poor Paul’s face. On the second pitch, he connected for a 400+ foot blast, and enjoyed it a little too long for Braves catcher Brian McCann’s liking.
McCann, just a simple Georgia boy who likes his bread buttered and his home runs completely unwitnessed, shouted at Gomez to get running. Gomez, who’d said nothing at that point, started doing so, then was barked at by the entire Braves infield as he circled the bases.
As MLB.com’s Richard Justice put it,
“These are tough, resilient, competitive people who've risen to the very highest level of their profession. These are not people who got where they are by backing down from a challenge.”
Gomez's clear challenge to the Braves by wordlessly watching a home run, then feeling good about it while his noncontending team played out the season, was heard loud and clear by the Braves. McCann then positioned himself between Gomez and home plate, simultaneously becoming an icon of baseball and America as a force in the way of progress, sure to appear on the cover of history text books in generations to come.
When McCann bravely straddled that third base line, courageously keeping Gomez from crossing the plate, selflessly screaming in his face, he did it for his teammates. He did it for baseball. He did it for America.
Some will argue this, of course. Some will say things like, “I really think the Braves are just a bunch of way-sensitive dudes,” or “Why did they make such a big deal out of it? They won their division and the Brewers don’t matter to them at all,” or "Yeah, Gomez is a showboating irritant, but you'd think being a dominant playoff team would help you get over it," or “Seriously, why are the Braves always on the verge of tears?”
These people are cowards, who don’t understand that if Carlos Gomez watches his home run too long, the terrorists win.
And the always passionate Braves fans at that game knew it, backing their team all the way.