After the A’s and Astros engaged in a benches-clearing brawl on Sunday afternoon, punishment is due
MLB’s strict social distancing protocols is supposed to limit the amount of on-field conflicts between teams, but that’s been anything but the case for the Houston Astros this year. Such beanings have been in response to the lack of severe punishment for their sign-stealing scandal, which played a role in the team’s 2017 World Series title.
The Los Angeles Dodgers took matters into their own hands, with reliever Joe Kelly hitting Alex Bregman, thus starting a very loud disagreement between the two teams which met in the Fall Classic three seasons ago. On Sunday, Houston’s divisional rival, the Oakland Athletics, took things to the next level, emptying the benches to defend teammate Ramon Laureno.
How long will Laureno and Astros coach Alex Cintron be suspended?
This much we don’t know, but the suspensions are said to be severe for both Laureno and Cintron. The former charged at an opposing team’s dugout, intent on fighting the entire roster if he had to. Cintron, meanwhile, initiated the tiff in the first place by reportedly insulting Laureno’s mother, which in Latin culture is as good a way as any to anger a rival.
Manfred and Joe Torre set a standard with the Kelly suspension, so it’s a precedent they’ll have to uphold with both Laureno and Cintron regardless of who started the exchange. For MLB, perhaps more serious than the brawl itself is breaking protocol, especially when two clubs have already experienced outbreaks of COVID-19.
The Marlins had 19 positive cases, and the Cardinals haven’t played baseball in over a week. As much as Laureno wanted to shut Cintron up, in the eyes of MLB, it should’ve been done from afar. The suspensions to both men will likely reflect that idea.