The suspensions handed down to Houston Astros coach Alex Cintron and A’s outfielder Ramon Laureano didn’t seem proportionate.
As expected, Major League Baseball handed down its punishment for the brawl that took place on Sunday between the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics. My initial reaction to the brawl was that both Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron and Oakland outfielder Ramon Laureano deserved suspensions, but that Laureano’s should be longer.
That’s not the way the Commissioner’s office went, however. Cintron was given a 20-game suspension for his role in instigating the brawl and fined an undisclosed amount. By contrast, Laureano was only suspended six games, which is two fewer than Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly got for throwing at two hitters’ heads.
To start, I have no issue with Cintron’s suspension. In fact, I’m of the opinion that the team should just go ahead and fire him. It doesn’t look like they’ll do that, but since when have they listened to me? Cintron deserves every bit of punishment he gets, and he also has a bit of a history here. That undoubtedly played into the league’s decision, as Kelly’s history did as well.
Laureano is a good guy by all accounts, but his suspension just seems light. Even he admitted that the Astros pitchers weren’t intentionally hitting him, yet for some reason he was talking back to Humberto Castellanos and making a big deal of it. If he’d calmly walked to first and kept quiet, none of this would’ve happened.
Then, in the midst of a pandemic, Laureano actually charged the opposing dugout. Regardless of what Cintron may have said to him, you simply can’t do that. Kelly throwing at batters’ heads was bad enough, but Laureano ignoring the need for social distancing and taking on an entire team seems like something the league would want to discourage.
The league has taken a lot of flak from other fan bases for the Kelly suspension, as the gleeful Astros haters deemed it too harsh. Is this disproportionate outcome a knee jerk response to that? Is Rob Manfred trying to placate the Houston-hating masses who will never be satisfied until every Astros player is both literally and figuratively destroyed?
Look at it this way — coach says something mean and gets 20 games. Player, who was already irrationally angry, charges an entire dugout and gets only six games. Something just seems inherently wrong about that.
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Again, I’m not sticking up for Cintron. He should have kept his mouth shut and conducted himself in a manner befitting a coach. Perhaps his history is part of what got him such a stiff punishment, and that’s fine. I’d be perfectly happy if he never worked for the organization again, and I’m not opposed to him getting a tougher punishment than Laureano.
But Laureano is the one who started the whole thing, and he should have gotten at least 10 games. You can argue that Cintron has a history and should be held to a higher standard, and that’s fine. But that doesn’t excuse what Laureano did or make it any better.
One thing I will say is that, thankfully, Dustin Garneau was not punished. I was afraid he would be, as he’s the one who expertly tackled Laureano before he could throw any punches. He kept the situation from getting any worse, so kudos to him on a job well done. Evidently the league recognized that.
But they went light on Laureano, and it’s hard to see why. The Astros haters will never be satisfied no matter what punishment is given out, so there’s no point in trying to appease them. MLB should have made a better example of Laureano since he started a fight, but I guess that’s not a big deal right now.