It finally happened.
Somebody held a silly grudge, for three years, started drama on the diamond…and the other team didn’t retaliate!
To quote Al Michaels, “Do you believe in miracles!?”
To be perfectly honest, I’m shocked. I got to bed early last night to prepare for a long day today and totally expected to wake up and see Giants vs Nationals Round 2 all over Twitter this morning. Instead, I saw exactly what I really wanted to see.
The Nationals earned a drama free victory and let their play do the talking instead of keeping up with the lame status quo of the unwritten rules.
Earlier this season the Red Sox, Orioles and Braves have all had a chance to let their drama go. None of them did.
The Sox threw at Manny Machado for a slide they interpreted as dirty. The Orioles then returned the favor and then once again the Red Sox followed the make-believe rules as Chris Sale threw behind Machado again on the third night.
Then came the Blue Jays and Braves saga.
I, for one, completely support admiring home runs and epic batflips, but I still believe that there are some stipulations to celebration. The scoreboard being one of the biggest ones.
In the game in which Jose Bautista’s batflip irked the Braves, Atlanta had an 8-3 lead on the Blue Jays when Bautista stepped to the dish. His solo home run made it an 8-4 ballgame. To me, that’s a matter of perspective and tact. It wasn’t the right time for a batflip, or any celebration for that matter.
I drew a comparison to football when this first happened.
It would be like if a team were down 35-7 late in the 4th quarter and scored to make it 35-14. Should the player that scored do some big choreographed dance number then? No, he would look stupid, just as Bautista did.
If the home run would have been a grand slam that made it a one-run ballgame, then that would have been a different story. The problem is, it wasn’t. It was completely out of line and even Bautista admitted to that after the game to the media.
That should have been the end of it, but it wasn’t.
The next night the Braves decided to once again follow rules that don’t actually exist and plunked Bautista in his first at-bat. The small miracle that the bean ball idiocy ended there.
This brings us to Monday.
Hunter Strickland throws at Bryce Harper. Harper charges the mound and 50 Cent tosses his helmet towards right field, punches are thrown, there’s a huge collision and of course the great hair is on display.
Major League Baseball suspended Strickland for 6-games and Harper for 4-games for the incident and by the grace of the baseball Gods, it ended there.
The two teams took the field by the bay on Tuesday night, Gio Gonzalez looked sharp for the first time since April and despite Harper’s 0-5 night the Nationals responded to the drama with their second straight road win over the Giants.
That is how it’s done.
It is due time that we eliminate these old world unwritten rules from baseball. They are not good for the game and its outward image.
Sure, the “baseball is boring” crowd will jump on any and every brawl and call it “the only thing interesting about baseball.”
Problem is, baseball isn’t for them.
Not everything in this world is for everybody and nowhere does it say that in order to be a sports fan, you have to like all sports equally. If you only like baseball for the brawls then you don’t actually like baseball…and that’s perfectly okay.
Everybody’s personal tastes are different. That’s why there are options. To me, a baseball first sports fan, I want dramatic play on the field. Pitcher’s duels, flair, walk-offs and dancing. That is what makes baseball interesting.
Day in and day out, I hear about how batflips and celebrating home runs set a bad example for kids. The real bad example I’m seeing is the one that shows kids that throwing fastballs at people who you’re mad at and fighting is cool. It isn’t cool.
I would personally rather see players having fun rather than fighting. Fun is a much better example to set for children than violence.
So thank you Gio Gonzalez, Dusty Baker and the Washington Nationals. Thank you for not bowing to the old ways and rising above the idiocy.
Now, please don’t make me look stupid and throw at Buster Posey tonight. Thanks.
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