Tuesday, Major League Baseball issued a seven-game suspension to Reds reliever Amir Garrett for "inciting" a benches-clearing incident with the Cubs over this past weekend. Cubs shortstop Javier Baez was fined, but not suspended.
This was the third in a line of head-scratching suspension decisions from the league with benches-clearing incidents this season. Actually, check that. These decisions aren't head scratchers. They are just plain stupid and they lay the groundwork for more nonsensical suspensions.
We can start with Garrett. First up, let's note that he got eight games a few years ago when he charged the entire Pirates dugout. He got seven games here for yelling. That isn't the biggest issue, though. We'll get to that.
Now, I'll be pretty clear here on Garrett's actions: I thought he made a total fool of himself. I'm generally pro-celebration and emotion, but that was spoof-like over the top. Why was he screaming at Anthony Rizzo? Rizzo did nothing to him. The Reds were losing, too! It was bizarre. That also doesn't mean that Báez needs to come running onto the field yelling. A good rule of thumb in life is that when someone is making a fool of himself, you can just let him make a fool of himself without injecting yourself.
Instead, Báez escalated things and the benches cleared. I understand that Garrett has to be punished since he acted first, but nothing else happens if Báez doesn't run onto the field. How did Garrett get seven games and Baez zero? Shouldn't they be equal?
For those of us paying attention all season, this wasn't a surprise at all, though. It was par for the course. It all started in that same ballpark during the season's opening weekend.
Nick Castellanos of the Reds was hit by a pitch against the Cardinals. He reacted as if it were intentional, but nothing escalated -- at first. He ended up coming around to score on a wild pitch and did a little flex-and-scream action in the offending pitcher's face. Foolish? Yeah, you can make that argument. I would. It was pretty dumb and over the top, but hey, he was emotional. Then things escalated when Yadier Molina -- forever the enforcer for his team's hurt feelings -- rushed over and attempted to grab Castellanos, who was walking away.