Swift Action Needed on MLB's Suspension Policy

Something has to be done about the MLB’s suspension policy. On April 20th (Easter Sunday) Milwaukee Brewers’ outfielder Carlos Gomez was involved in a bench-clearing brawl versus the Pittsburgh Pirates. A fight he initiated by strutting after a deep shot into the outfield that he thought was gone. Gomez ended up on 3rd base as the celebration was premature. Pirate’s hurler Gerrit Cole took exception to Gomez’s hot-dogging and began to jaw with the often controversial Brewer. The benches cleared and a melee ensued.

A few days later, MLB dished out suspensions for the brawl. Carlos Gomez was given a 3 game suspension. It wasn’t until May 15th, about a month after the altercation, that Gomez served his suspension. Here’s the kicker:

Carlos Gomez dropped his appeal because a minor back injury was going to force him out of the lineup for several days. This is not an attack on Gomez! I am just me merely pointing out how absurd the rules are.

All of this comes down from the MLB Players Association’s policies that they have negotiated over the years for a player’s right to a fair hearing. I am all for that. Sometimes, the discipline is unfair and needs to be rectified. Mostly the judgements do not get overturned. But, there has to be some sort of time line in which the discipline is enforced.

The MLB season is a long treacherous marathon, during which rest needed. Players are bound to need days off for bumps and bruises along the way. When injury sets in, days off should be just that. A player should not be able to maneuver his suspension around the next time he needs time to heal. That’s like telling your kid to go to bed with no T.V., but letting them wait until the night the President’s State of the Union Address is on every channel. That’s more like a bullet dodged than a lesson learned.

So, what to do and what is fair for both sides. This is a tricky answer in these days of not wanting to start a work stoppage over a minor flaw in the system. Fair competition should be the focus by those who are looking at the options at hand. Obviously, all sides would have to vote and agree on a new policy. As much as we want to, fans can’t just dream up a solution and think it’s going to stick. Proposals have to presented and agreed upon. If not, those goofy hat brims being worn like Justin Beiber would be the first thing voted out. One thing is for certain, the current rule is ridiculous and must be amended.

I propose a three day rule on all disciplinary actions. Remember, the youth of America is also learning the dos and don’ts of baseball’s rules and etiquette. A shorter attention span of the audience is also a factor. Seeing your team suffer because of bad behavior resonates more if it’s a swift punishment.

The original suspension has to be dealt by the day after the offense. That gives the player in question two full days after to fight it or accept it. Once the appeal has been sent, the second ruling should be handed down before the team’s next game. The punishment should then be enforced by the following game. Waiting until you have a hamstring pull or have a hangover should not be an option.

A 12-year-old kid’s image of the guy who is supposed to be learning a lesson, should not be of him twerking at last call in a South Beach bar because his club has a three day trip down to play the lowly Marlins. And if he has a hit hat brim flatly worn like Justin Bieber in any photo during the suspension, add an extra two games on for good measure.


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