Pirates' catcher Russell Martin is held back by Gaby Sanchez after the benches cleared against the Brewers in the third inning Sunday at PNC Park.
By Jenn Menendez and Bill Brink / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Major League Baseball has begun a review of a bench-clearing brawl Sunday between the Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers, but no suspensions had been levied as of game time Monday night.
Catcher Russell Martin had an idea of how to settle things: Martin challenged Brewers backup catcher Martin Maldonado to a one-on-one offseason charity fight.
Moments after the benches cleared, Maldonado connected with Travis Snider’s left eye. Martin and the Pirates took exception to the fact that Snider was being bear-hugged and held back by Rickie Weeks at the time of the punch.
“It’d be fun to see how Maldonado acts if it’s a one-on-one-type situation to see if he’s the same type of guy,” said Martin.
“We can raise some money for charity and we can battle it out, me and him, you know? No teammates around for protection. I’m throwing it out there.”
The fracas began when Carlos Gomez hit a deep fly ball in the third inning he later said he thought would be caught for an out. Gomez flipped his bat and jogged to first base and accelerated when the ball bounced off the wall.
Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole had words for Gomez when he reached third, Gomez took exception, shouted back and was restrained by third-base umpire Jim Reynolds. That’s when the benches cleared, Snider confronted Gomez and things escalated.
Martin, who will be a free agent at the close of the 2014 season, said the timing would be perfect for a celebrity scuffle for charity.
“If he wants to do that, he wants to go and have a fight for charity in the offseason? My contract comes up at the end of the season, so before I sign a contract I can do whatever I want,” said Martin. “I’d be completely willing to do that. If he’s up for that I’m down.”
Martin wasn’t the only player whose emotions were still running high a day after the melee.
Snider carried the most visible signs. His left eye was a purple hue, and had a cut that ran the length of his sunglass frame.
Snider, who was not available for comment Sunday, said his decision to enter the fray was made when Gomez headed toward Cole.
“When I saw Carlos Gomez take his helmet off and push the umpire to the side, acting like he’s physically going to do something to our pitcher, who said something to him and walked away, that’s when I’m going to leave the bench,” said Snider. “I’m going to protect my teammates."
Snider would not speculate on potential suspensions.
“It’s not my job to speculate whether somebody should be suspended or not,” said Snider. “I know in a fight you don’t throw a punch when somebody’s got his arms wrapped up by another player. That’s him defending his teammate in his own words.”
Snider was not in the Monday lineup, but was available off the bench according to manager Clint Hurdle.
Hurdle said he spoke on the phone Monday with Joe Torre, executive vice president of baseball operations, and was awaiting further information.
“I shared my views with Joe. We’ll see how it plays out,” said Hurdle. “Sometimes in this game we do lose respect for the opposition and we lose respect for the game. I think that’s when it can get complicated. Our guys showed the fact that they are going to play with intensity. The games matter and they count now. They will support and back up teammates when called upon to do so.”
An MLB spokesman wrote in an email: “We have begun a review of the situation.”
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