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Carlos Gomez is a problem, but so is oversensitivity

By Matt Snyder | Baseball Writer

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Let's be very clear about something right off the bat: Brewers All-Star Carlos Gomez really needs to dial it down. This happened Sunday:

This happened this past Friday:

And this happened last season:

Gomez is one of the most exciting all-around players in the game. He's an unbelievable defensive player and he has a great power-speed combo on the offensive end. His intensity helps to a certain extent, sure, but the attitude could use an adjustment. Getting kicked out of games hurts his team, a suspension -- which is probably coming -- hurts his team and when he freaks out after a strikeout he could injure himself. So, again, Gomez needs to dial it down in a few areas. I don't think many would dispute that. I have no doubt that the fight Sunday would have been avoided if Gomez would just settle down a little bit.

He's not alone, though.

I continue to be baffled by this mindset where it's OK for baseball players to pout over how an opponent reacts. It happens all the time, so I'm not singling out Gerrit Cole, as he's simply the latest example. In this specific case, why does he care how Gomez reacts in the batter's box? And couldn't it be argued that Gomez cost himself a chance at an inside-the-park homer by standing there admiring his shot? If someone argues that Gomez looked like a fool, shouldn't Cole just let him look like a fool?

Around this point in the discussion, I'm bound to be met with rhetoric from the supposed "tough guy" crowd resembling the following:

1. Gomez needs to respect the game! He doesn't play the game right way!

2. Gomez showed Cole up!

3. Gomez is a punk!

4. Back in the old days, Bob Gibson would have [insert made-up hypothetical]

My responses:

1. Maybe, but why should that upset opposing players enough to go over and yell at him? If an opponent disrespects the game of baseball, how does it actually affect you? It doesn't. Ignore him. Also, I'm sorry but there's no actual "right way" to play, speaking from a factual point of view. The "right way" rhetoric is all a matter of opinion. I'm a big "to each his own" guy. If Gomez really wants to watch a fly ball and possibly cost himself an extra base, that's up to him.

2. Here's what I don't understand about all these so-called macho men who pound their chests over things like "the right way." If you're so tough, why do the actions of an opponent cause a hissy fit? Wouldn't the actual tough guys be mentally tough enough to either ignore the opponent or just wryly laugh at him? I guess I'm weird, but I think the stronger people are the ones who are able to ignore the noise without getting upset.

3. Irrelevant nonsense that doesn't broach the issue at hand.

4. Again, I don't understand how getting upset about how an opponent acts and throwing a baseball at him from 60 feet away makes someone tough. Maybe strike him out instead? Wouldn't that be more manly? It's "I beat you" instead of "I'm mad at you, so I'm going to throw something at you." You know who throws things in anger? Young children when throwing a temper tantrum.

As I've written before, baseball is supposed to be fun. If I'm a baseball player and an opposing player like Gomez (or everyone's favorite punching bag Yasiel Puig) likes to have fun in a manner different than other players, I don't really care. Maybe he looks dumb to some people, but that's his choice. If I'm a pitcher and have a problem with how an opponent pimps a long fly ball, I need to get him out and then we won't have to see it. If I fail to get him out, maybe I should be upset with myself for not getting an out a.k.a. doing my job.

Seriously, for all the talk about being so tough, a lot of people are pretty damn mentally weak. Gomez is a slight attitude problem and needs to stop letting it hurt his team, but the oversensitivity of the masses needs to stop as well. Quit whining and play ball.

 
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