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In which I agree with Jon Morosi 100% about bat flips and on-field flair

Apr 21, 2014, 9:23 AM EDT

carlos gomez getty Getty Images

It’s not often I find myself in total agreement with Fox’s Jon Morosi about things, but I am in 100% agreement with his argument that baseball needs to lighten the hell up about bat flips, exuberance and on-field displays of flair and emotion.

The jumping-off point is the bat flip and slow strut out of the box by Carlos Gomez in yesterday’s Brewers-Pirates game. Morosi and I agree: not the brightest baseball move, as he could’ve been thrown out at third (or could’ve gotten an inside-the-park-homer, Morosi argues). Also: throwing his helmet escalated things in an unacceptable manner, turning a verbal altercation into a physical one when it didn’t have to be.

But Morosi’s point — with which I totally agree — is that it never should’ve even been a verbal altercation. Baseball is just dumb, however, and continues to have some sort of puritan disdain for any player who actually looks like they’re having fun out there:

Why do major league players take exception to peers who have the audacity to enjoy themselves on a baseball field?

If Gomez’s story sounds familiar, it should. Replace “Carlos Gomez” with “Yasiel Puig” or “Jose Fernandez,” and the basic theme holds true: A Latin American-born player has become a star in the major leagues, and he’s supposed to “tone down” his celebrations and remove the individuality from his game because “we don’t do that here.”

Well . . . why not?

It all comes down to “it never used to be like that,” of course. But I defy anyone to find a good historical example of when “we don’t DO that around here! It’s just NOT DONE” has been a sustainable or enlightened line of thinking.

Go read Morosi’s column. And ask yourself — honestly — why it’s so important to retain some century-old code of on-field stoicism and stifling of exuberance, style and — dare I say it — swag. While playing dumb may hurt Carlos Gomez’s team, how on Earth does it hurt Gerrit Cole‘s? How is what Gomez did an infraction for the Pirates to police as opposed to one the Brewers should police?

Baseball has a hard enough time marketing its young, exciting players. Marketing to youth. Yet every time someone or something interesting comes along it’s shamed and punished. That’s just dumb. We need to cut it out.

  1. bh192012 - Apr 21, 2014 at 2:13 PM

    Yes batters should be able to cartwheel around the bags, but pitchers have to be somber and silent monks, unable to show emotion.

  2. skerney - Apr 21, 2014 at 2:17 PM

    I have my office with it’s code of conduct and unwritten rules. You have your office or workplace with it’s customs and rituals. The baseball diamond is an office with 800 testosterone driven guys that police themselves to make sure the work gets done and no one steps on anyones toes. Why is this so hard to understand? Baseball players are not humiliated by losses, giving up home runs, or striking with runners on base. It’s part of the game, they understand that. What gets under their skin is when someone like Carlos Gomez adds insult to the injury with antics meant to demean and humiliate. Then their skin gets thin and you get incidents like this.

    Baseball is supposed to be fun? For you, the fan it’s supposed to be fun. What if Hanley Ramirez was doing his “LO VISTE” gimmick in your face when your wife was watching with 40,000 people. Not so fun right? Players decide what can pass as acceptable and non-acceptable behavior on the field because it’s their workplace. There are home runs, triples, and bases loaded knocks every single day and I can honestly say if I saw NFL or NBA or FIFA style pimping of home runs and triples the game I love would not be as fun to watch. Look, I worked for the Rays for years. Players lived at my house, I rode the buses, I prepped the meals, I scrubbed the spikes, I went to their weddings. Believe me, players believe in their code of conduct, or unwritten rules as you like to call them.

    Everyone makes fun of Tony LaRussa and unwritten rules and playing-the-game-the-right-way. It’s fun and easy. But from the age of 6 we teach our T-baller, little leaguers, high school players, college players, and Pro ballplayers that they should respect the game, themselves, their teammates and their opponents. This means not to do what Carlos Gomez did. When those values are encroached upon this BS happens and we all point our noses to the sky and condemn ballplayers for protecting the values we as a society demanded from them.

    Would you tell Bob Gibson, Ty Cobb, Pete Rose or any of the other major leaguers we hailed for being tough and intense that they should lighten up because baseball is a game and should be fun? Are you out of your mind? Fun? Being humiliated is not fun. Humiliating people is not fun. Baseball is fun buy it’s also the most serious thing in the world. Don’t show up players, don’t flip your bat, and don’t break the office rules.

    • brewcrewfan54 - Apr 21, 2014 at 3:26 PM

      We see guys do what Gomez did on a nightly basis so obviously the kids arent being taught that well. Pujols has 498 homers and Im pretty sure he watched about 400 of them along with Bonds, Sosa and plenty others.

    • rednuthatch - Apr 21, 2014 at 5:10 PM

      “Being humiliated is not fun. Humiliating people is not fun. ”

      Who exactly did Gomez humiliate? Certainly not the pitcher. Gomez himself looked kind of silly for misjudging the ball. The pitcher got all bent for really no good reason.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Apr 21, 2014 at 5:22 PM

        What’s also being left out of all this is Russell Martin, MCuthchen and Tabata all watched long fly balls during this series that didn’t make it out of the park either yet the Brewers made no complaints about it. Pirates are just mad they’re currently 1-6 against the Brewers so far this season.

    • moondog1969 - Apr 22, 2014 at 2:04 PM

      Total BS. Players “believe” in their code just like the Hitler Youth believed in their cause. Mindless adherence to total nonsense. It’s OUR club and you’ll play by OUR rules!! In any game I can easily point out dozens of little displays of emotion that were NOT okay in the 1960’s. Pitchers constantly pumping their fists is different than a bat flip how exactly??? Tossing a helmet in the air half way from 3rd to home on a walkoff is really different than Puig sliding into home surrounded by his teammates (wasn’t even seen by the other team)??

      It’s okay to throw at a hitters head but not okay for a player to flip a bat….ooooookay. What kind of world is THAT!?!?!? You can take ALL of your high-school-jock-frat-boy-BS and shove it deep.

      And using Bob Gibson as an example?? Bob didn’t do the fist pump. Ty Cobb didn’t toss his helmet in the air like a 5 year old. All of the so-called “police” these days do stuff all the time that wasn’t okay 50 years ago. 20 years from now people will LAUGH at the notion that a bat flip was once-upon-a-time considered offensive.

      • skerney - Apr 22, 2014 at 3:51 PM

        Advice: When trying to make a point and not sound like a total imbecile, do not mention Hitler in the first sentence of your “point.”

        You’re welcome.

      • moondog1969 - Apr 22, 2014 at 3:57 PM

        “Hitler”…”youth gangs”…. whatever…. same concept

  3. anxovies - Apr 21, 2014 at 2:24 PM

    When I hit my first MLB homerun I am going to strut and point like Freddy Mercury on an ecstacy binge.

  4. crzsweet20 - Apr 21, 2014 at 2:41 PM

    Reblogged this on ticklemyfancyblog.

  5. drewsylvania - Apr 21, 2014 at 4:03 PM

    Agree, except we don’t need baseball to be like the NBA….

    • moondog1969 - Apr 22, 2014 at 2:05 PM

      uh oh…. a little racist slip up right there.

  6. mikhelb - Apr 21, 2014 at 4:24 PM

    Cue a photo of Adrián González making the “mickey mouse ears” signal just to show his rival peers how mocking is handled… with a good dosage of laughter from the receiving end after allowing his bat to shut them out a bit.

  7. mrznyc - Apr 22, 2014 at 8:52 AM

    Craig, in your call for allowing more “exuberance”, I assume you have no objections to the pitcher showing a little “exuberance” next time Gomez comes to bat.

    • ud1951 - Apr 22, 2014 at 12:27 PM

      Seems like Craig did not care for Chris Carpenter’s “exuberance” when he was winning games for the Cardinals.

  8. apeville - Apr 22, 2014 at 12:25 PM

    Yes, more bat flipping will send DROVES of young fans to the ballparks. A proud post-homer smile will increase viewership by at least 3 or 4 viewers.

  9. moondog1969 - Apr 22, 2014 at 1:54 PM

    I can see the “fun police” at it again. Watch a homerun from the 60’s and you’ll see a guy trot around the bases, head down, and meekly shake the hand of the next guy up. Yesterday, the idiot “Sheriff McCann” himself hit’s a walk-off HR and exuberantly tosses his helmet in the air between 3rd and home. Is that really “doing it the right way” compared to how guys did it several decades ago??? NO..it is NOT.

    So the question is —– WHO gets to decide what is “the right way”?

    Essentially this is about control, and soft racism. Yep… the R word.

    Look at a guy like Puig who has never EVER displayed anger or talked crap about another player. So he flipped his bat and missed the cutoff man and he’s essentially the devil himself in a Dodgers uniform according to the racist old timers who INSIST he conform. Even in golf today there is wayyyyyy more emotion shown on the course when compared to the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.

    Baseball players are spoiled children essentially. Still stuck in the high school jock mentality. Grow up and be and example to kids. Stop with the absolutely RIDICULOUS and ever changing “unwritten rules”.

  10. endzonepete - Apr 22, 2014 at 2:10 PM

    Gomez even said it best when he mentioned that he doesn’t get mad at the pitcher when he strikes out. The hypocrisy for pitchers is ridiculous.

    Out of all the brawls that have ever happened in baseball, I would bet 99% of them were started by a pitcher either throwing at someone or mouthing off to a batter and yet the batter always seems to take the blame.

    At least pitchers used to fight their own fights, nowadays guys like Cole just mouth off and start it and walk away while his team fights for him. Bunch of Prima donnas.

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