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How was Gerrit Cole not suspended? He basically started the brawl

More on brawl: Gomez gets 3 games, Cole none | Are we oversensitive?

Let me get this straight. Baseball has suspended four people because of the brawl on Sunday between the Brewers and Pirates -- but didn't suspend the guy who started the damn thing?

That would be Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole, and don't look at me like that. If you're here to argue with me, I know both your issues already: One, you say Gerrit Cole never threw a punch, never fought with anyone, therefore he can't be suspended for his role in a brawl. Two, you say Gerrit Cole didn't start this thing anyway; Carlos Gomez started it by pimping his home run triple.

If you're saying either (or both) of those things, then you have a third issue:

You're wrong.

Here's why: Cole started that fight just as surely as the slowest driver on the Interstate started the 12-car pileup behind him. That guy scooting along at 52 miles an hour avoided the crash, doesn't even know it happened, but it's his fault. He's the one screwing up, causing a chain reaction that resulted in 12 cars piling up while he goes about his business, blissfully unaware of his role in the whole thing.

That's Cole, minus the unaware part. He knows he started this fight. And if you don't know that, you're either (A) a Pirates fan, which is understandable because we support our own and I support that, or (B) you're so mad at Gomez for Disrespecting The Game that you failed to see what Cole did to turn a run-of-the-mill baseball code violation into a five-alarm fire.

Gomez admired his ball out of the batter's box. Apparently that's Showing Up The Pitcher, as opposed to simply admiring a feat that's pretty hard to do: Hitting a ball 400 feet over against the fence. Hell, I'll give you that: Gomez showed up the pitcher, intentionally or otherwise.

But Cole took a situation that was manageable, even preferable, and made it a national story. By being such a hotdog, Gomez missed the chance to score on an inside-the-park home run. Instead he's on third. Cole got lucky. So how does he thank Gomez for saving him a run? Cole curses at him from about five feet away, loud enough to be heard on this video here.

Cole just made a small event a monster one, because Major League players don't like being cursed at by an opponent on the field. Do they like being shown up by a batter? No, they don't like that either. Gomez played his role in this fight by doing that, but Gerrit Cole absolutely escalated things by cursing out Gomez.

After that, the fight was on. Gomez barked back, the benches emptied, and testosterone took over. Gomez himself went ballistic, and that's on him. He's not an innocent bystander in this, not some poor guy who doesn't deserve the three-game ban he got. He deserves every inning of his suspension, and should probably get another game or two tacked on for having the audacity to appeal it.

But Cole deserves a suspension, too. This fight doesn't happen without him. There are no winners in what happened Sunday at PNC Park, only losers.

But Gerrit Cole didn't lose, somehow. Baseball let him slink off down the road, laughing in his rear-view mirror at the carnage he helped cause.

 
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