Carlos Gomez jacked a home run off Paul Maholm in the first inning of a meaningless September game against the playoff-bound Atlanta Braves. As Gomez's bomb landed among the 30 people in center field who probably bought their tickets last week hoping the Bravos hadn't clinched yet, he admired his shot and reportedly told Maholm, "You hit me, I hit you. Now we're even."
According to Gomez, Maholm plunked him twice this season, which he regarded as intentional. Once he started down his homer, he presumably thought the sides were even.
That didn't sit well with the Atlanta Braves, however, particularly Freddie Freeman and Brian McCann. Freeman had some words for Gomez as he crossed first base, and McCann stood in front of the plate, waiting for Gomez to arrive. When he did, a brawl immediately ensued, though the only real damage done was Reed Johnson hitting Gomez across the face (which he somehow got away with).
For whatever reason, the Braves are a very high-and-mighty team. They didn't appreciate when pitcher Jose Fernandez hit his first career homer and took a little too long to admire it, either. The Braves also campaigned heavily against Yasiel Puig, another in-your-face kinda baseball player, ahead of the All-Star break, and several columnists took the opportunity to trash Puig's character.
The Braves have every right to look out for their teammate and to stand up for themselves for feeling disrespected, but at a certain point — and having clinched the division in late September is probably past that point — they need to find some chill. They only magnified their disrespect by starting this brawl as the whole incident probably would have gone unnoticed otherwise, and risked players getting suspended just because someone got his revenge.
Like Freeman told Gomez when he walked around first base, the Braves need to act like they've been there before. Unfortunately for this group, they haven't, and it probably contributes heavily to their sensitivity.