The Wrong Way To Play BaseballApril 30, 2010
Prince Fielder hits a homerun to win a game for some of his best friends while 25 thousand people cheer for him. But then he ruins it by untucking his shirt as he rounds third base. What do you do?
Well maybe not. It seems like some people wanted to, though. Last year Torii Hunter decided it was his place to flip his lid about the Brewers celebrating a victory in a game that took place in a different stadium, timezone, and league than Hunter and his Angels (in the process undoing all of the good will I had towards him for the combination of his robbing Barry Bonds’ all star game homerun and making this commercial). It was a rant of bitterness, misplaced nostalgia and absurdity matched only by Torii Hunter’s rant for the current season about the plight of the black baseball player, which he seemed to think is caused in part by the lowball offers received by “imposter” blacks, namely Dominicans and other Caribbean islanders. I seem to have drifted off of my intentioned path on to a Torii Hunter rant, so just one more Torii Fact™ before I continue: when Torii’s children have fun at school he tells them “School isn’t supposed to be fun,” and then hits them with a baseball between the shoulder blades.
The main issue with “unwritten rules” is that they vary from person to person. Why do some celebrations rub people the wrong way, while others are okay? Why is it bad to talk trash but fine to hit someone in the wrist with a fastball? It seems very hypocritical for people to think they can determine how others will express their personality on (or off) the field. J.D. Drew quiet off of the field, and is a smooth fielder who takes good routes to the ball and doesn’t have to dive very often. Therefore, he is a loafer who doesn’t care. Jacobi Ellsbury runs around like a lunatic because he doesn’t know where the ball is, and has a pretty face. That makes him scrappy and clutch. Robinson Cano used to have occasional mental lapses in the field, which seemed to give an impression of him being lazy or not caring. Kevin Youkilis is a total dick, but that gets read as passion and fire.
I think what I am trying to get at is that you can’t judge someone’s personality because of what they do on a baseball field. Getting back to the Brewers antics of last season, why did so many people jump all over them for their various homerun celebrations?
Why is is such a big deal to have fun on the field? I guess the obvious answer is that it can be construed as “showing up your opponent.” Well you know what was way more embarrassing than Prince Fielder pretending to be a bowling ball? Prince Fielder hitting a game winning homerun off of one of the Giants pitchers. If you don’t want someone to celebrate, don’t give them a reason to. This isn’t Prince Fielder hitting a homerun off of a little leaguer, then taking a dump on the mound after touching home. For one at bat he dominated a major league pitcher and he should get to do all of the celebrating he wants after the game.
You don’t have to like it when someone celebrates, but it doesn’t hurt you when they do. It doesn’t hurt J.D. Drew to have as much personality as a sack of potatoes, he’s a fantastic ballplayer either way. Matt Kemp isn’t a prima donna loafer because he is off to a slow start. Plus I already told you, he is awesome.
Baseball is a game. Games are fun. Everyone has their own way of playing, and bitching about creativity in a game that has hardly changed in 100 years is inane.