Appeal could push it into next season; outfielder also fined for hitting Gomez
ATLANTA -- Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez and Braves outfielder Reed Johnson were both issued a one-game suspension and an undisclosed fine for their actions during the benches-clearing incident that marred the first inning of Wednesday night's game at Turner Field.
Freddie Freeman and Brian McCann were also issued undisclosed fines after Major League Baseball reviewed the events that unfolded after Gomez admired the first-inning home run he hit off Paul Maholm. Fortunately for the Braves, both Freeman and McCann avoided a suspension.
"I think there is a sense of relief," Braves general manager Frank Wren said. "In sort of a perverse way, Freddie served his suspension last night, getting thrown out in the very beginning of the game. So we lost arguably our best hitter for the entire game."
While Gomez chose to serve his suspension on Thursday, Johnson will appeal the one he got for hitting Gomez during the fracas. If the ruling is upheld, there is a chance the veteran outfielder would not have to serve it until the beginning of next season.
Freeman was ejected for what the umpiring crew deemed overaggressive actions while in the scrum of players that formed near the plate. As he was attempting to get to Gomez, Freeman did land an inadvertent elbow to the face of Milwaukee third baseman Aramis Ramirez, who was forced to exit two innings later with a sore left knee.
"I've looked at that tape from like five different angles, and to me, it just looks like [Freeman] was trying to create some space and grab somebody," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I don't see that as a punch at all."
Members of both organizations have said they have never seen anything like the events that unfolded after Gomez admired his home run and then yelled at Maholm and other players as he completed an animated home run trot that became even more unique when it was halted by an incensed McCann, who greeted the Brewers outfielder approximately 10 feet up the third-base line.
Gomez's emotions were fueled by the fact he believed Maholm intentionally hit him with a pitch on June 23. Usual retaliation would have come in the form of the Brewers hitting a Braves player, which is what happened when McCann was hit in the seventh inning of that same game three months ago.
There was no indication there would be any carryover effect until Gomez glared at Maholm after swinging at and missing the first pitch he saw on Wednesday. After drilling the second one over the left-center-field wall, mayhem ensued.
"It was just such an unusual situation," Wren said. "Every time you get in a situation like this, in hindsight, there are things you wish you had done different. I think our players feel that way. But I think the reaction was probably appropriate for the situation. It was one of the most unique things I've ever seen."
When he spoke with media members before the Brewers played the Mets at Citi Field on Thursday, Gomez once again apologized for his actions and said he understood McCann's reaction.
"He's a team player, and he knows I overdid it a little bit," Gomez said. "I'm not expecting any other reaction from him. You know, like I said, I apologize. I'm not supposed to go that far."