Are you kidding me?! Cincinnati Reds outfielder Nick Castellanos is dealt a two-game suspension for his role in Saturday’s fracas and St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina receives an undisclosed fine. Are you kidding me?!
After Saturday’s benches-clearing incident resulted in Castellanos’ ejection from the game, I felt as though we’d heard the last of any type of discipline. I was wrong. On Monday, it was revealed that Nick Castellanos was suspended for two games. In addition, he, Jesse Winker, Eugenio Suarez, Yadier Molina, Jordan Hicks, and Nolan Arenado were also fined.
The ejection was more than enough punishment for the Reds outfielder.
First, Nick Castellanos should never have been ejected from Saturday’s game. For starters, Cardinals’ pitcher Jake Woodford plunked Castellanos in the ribs with a 93-MPH fastball before his exuberant celebration at the plate.
Look, I’m old school and would prefer not to see pitchers roaring on the mound after a punch out, sluggers flipping bats 15-feet in the air after a home run, and Trevor Bauer strutting off the bump like Conor McGregor. But, that’s today’s game. So, while Castellanos’ celebration could be deemed a little over the top, it was no more harmful than a bat flip.
The only think Castellanos hurt was the Cardinals’ feelings, and that’s the reason the melee began in the first place. Let’s not forget that Yadier Molina put his hands on Nick Castellanos first. In the process, Molina bumped into the home plate umpire.
Crew chief Jim Reynolds called the contact “not aggressive”. Towards the umpire, Molina’s actions were not aggressive, but don’t you dare claim that Molina’s actions towards Castellanos were not aggressive. Molina pursued Castellanos, who was on his way back to the dugout, grabbed the Reds outfielder by the shoulder, and shoved him.
Look, I get it. Yadier Molina thought Nick Castellanos was showing up his pitcher and the Cardinals’ backstop came to his defense. Fine. I hope Tucker Barnhart would do the same for Lucas Sims, Luis Castillo, or any other pitcher on the Reds roster. But here’s where the problem comes in.
You can’t suspend Nick Castellanos and allow Yadier Molina to get off scot-free.
The bottom line, whether we agree with the suspension of Nick Castellanos or not is irrelevant. I for one believe that he’ll appeal, get it knocked down to a single game and he’ll serve his suspension later this week.
The problem is consistency. It’s been a problem before, and it’s been a problem in other professional sports leagues. Fans don’t mind the punishment, so long as the punishment is doled out fairly. If you want to claim that Castellanos started the incident by flexing in front of Woodford, fine. But, Molina egged it on by putting his hands on Castellanos and shoving him in the back.
And furthermore, how in the world does Jake Woodford get off scot-free? He drilled Castellanos in the ribs on a 0-0 count, drove his knee into his back during the play at the plate, and hit Jonathan India one the elbow later in the game. Andrew Miller also hit Tyler Naquin with a 90-MPH fastball. Why wasn’t he ejected? You can’t tell me both benches weren’t warned.
This whole incident only adds fuel to the conspiracy that Major League Baseball protects players like Yadier Molina. Michael Hill, who’s now MLB’s senior vice president for on-field operations, should’ve suspended Yadier Molina as well, or allowed Castellanos’ ejection to be punishment enough.