Cincinnati Reds right fielder Nick Castellanos has been suspended two games and fined an undisclosed amount for his "aggressive actions" and for "instigating a benches-clearing incident" in Saturday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals.
The benches cleared in the bottom of the fourth inning on Saturday after Castellanos scored a run and taunted Cards pitcher Jake Woodford, who had hit him on the shoulder earlier in the inning. Be sure to take notice of who charged over to Castellanos and actually started the brawl, because it's catcher Yadier Molina. Yet Castellanos was ejected for the incident.
The Reds' and Cardinals' dugouts have emptied after Nick Castellanos scores on a wild pitch. pic.twitter.com/M8sSctUjbo
— Bally Sports Cincinnati (@BallySportsCIN) April 3, 2021
The Cards and Reds have a history of animosity, but this particular episode began on opening day. Castellanos hit the Reds' first home run of the season, and celebrated while running up the first base line.
Nick Castellanos - Cincinnati Reds (1) 2-run. pic.twitter.com/nebK1AyP1U
— MLB HR Tracker (@hr_mlb) April 1, 2021
The Cardinals, always the fun-hating enforcers of the unwritten rules, appear to have taken offense to Castellanos' excitement. While Woodford said that hitting Castellanos on the shoulder was an accident, it's not uncommon for pitchers to retaliate like that when they feel their teammate has been shown up. MLB may want to "Let the Kids Play," but the Cardinals don't seem to have bought into that.
So why exactly was Castellanos suspended?
It's not entirely clear what Castellanos did to warrant the suspension, or even the ejection. It appears that Woodford threw at him intentionally as retaliation, which is what led him to flex on Woodford after he scored a run. Castellanos was actually walking back to the dugout when Molina ran up to him and shoved him from behind, which is what started the brawl. Castellanos didn't actually touch anyone.
That's why the punishment is confusing. Molina wasn't ejected or suspended a single game for having zero self control and physically starting the fight, while Castellanos was ejected and suspended for... tempting him to do it?
Reds manager David Bell was also perplexed by the decision to suspend Castellanos.
David Bell had a statement on the Castellanos suspension (which is being appealed) and didn't want to speak about it more than that: pic.twitter.com/Dmo93AKurL
— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) April 5, 2021
For his decision to physically push Castellanos and kick off the benches-clearing brawl, Molina was given an undisclosed fine. Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado and pitcher Jordan Hicks were also fined, as were Reds infielder Eugenio Suárez and outfielder Jesse Winker.
Castellanos is appealing the suspension, so his punishment won't start until the matter has been reviewed. If MLB feels that Molina's utter lack of self control is worth just a fine, you'd think that Castellanos' harmless flex has to be worth less, right?
More from Yahoo Sports: