Baltimore Orioles: Should MLB embrace it’s “characters?”
If you look up and down the roster, the Baltimore Orioles don’t have any “characters.” I don’t mean that everyone on the roster is blasee by any means, because anyone who’s ever met the likes of Adam Jones or Chris Davis knows that isn’t the case. And let’s not forget this video from 2012 featuring Buck Showalter and Darren O’Day. But I’m talking about another type of character, one that’s generally labeled a troublemaker by the baseball establishment.
Over the weekend I was listening to a program on the radio that was discussing this topic. The host, like most people I suspect, was arguing that seeing the likes of Yasiel Puig dancing his way around the bases was a good thing for baseball. Now let me be very clear; I’ve always respected Dodger Blue, and I think Puig is probably the best young talent in baseball today. However I for one am not in favor of seeing the theatrics for which he’s become noted end up being a part of baseball on a day-to-day basis.
Courtesy of Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
Please don’t misread me, as this is not a conviction of Puig specifically. I’d take his act before I’d take that of Carlos Gomez of the Milwaukee Brewers, who it seems tries to purposely show up opponents. Now as I said above, the O’s don’t seem to have these type of characters on the roster; many of course will point to Manny Machado’s incident with Josh Donaldson last season as evidence that they do. However that appears to be an isolated incident; furthermore as I said at the time, don’t support Machado’s actions over the course of that weekend. (Although in fairness, the umpiring crew did appear to give Oakland hitters multiple opportunities to hit Machado.)
Nevertheless, I’m not talking about one specific player, but more so a mentality. There are people out there who believe that antics such as slowly jogging around the bases (or the opposite for that matter) so as to show up he pitcher after a home run is a good thing. There are those who believe that Eric Hosmer’s “shoulder throw” whenever he gets on base is a good thing for the game, because fans like it. There are those who probably had no problem with former Oriole Daniel Cabrera glaring at hitters while they rounded the bases after homers. Not this writer.
More so than any other sport, baseball has always been a game of mutual respect played by gentlemen. And that’s how it should remain. Now some people will argue that pitchers throwing at batters is hardly a gentlemanly act, and they might be right. But even the highest levels of society have passive-aggressive manners by which to police themselves. I feel it’s a shame that we’ve come to the point in society where we’re blaming the victim. If a hitter hot dogs it around the bases, odds are he’s going to see some chin music. Society then turns around and blames the pitcher for throwing at the guy, of course disregarding the fact that the guy showed up the pitcher to begin with.
I’m going to predict that many of you are going to take the exact opposite stance as I, and that’s okay. However be careful what you wish for; do you really want to see celebrations akin to end zone dances in baseball? Many of you will say yes of course, that’s what we want…it’s entertainment after all, right?! Yes, it’s entertainment. However keep in mind that baseball is a metaphor which represents American society as a whole. Do we really want to relay to the rest of the world that we’re a bunch of braggarts who want to pour salt in the wound when we beat someone
Ultimately my point is that baseball is a better game when the theatrics of it’s characters are kept in private. As I said, many of you are probably going to disagree with me – and that’s okay. You’re welcome to offer your commentary below, but keep in mind that this is a place for civil discourse. Just as baseball is a sport for gentlemen.