Waking up Thursday morning I was met with some comments from arguably one of the best players of the games past. Mike Schmidt was the latest former major league player to take offense and speak out about Jose Bautista‘s bat flip last October. He may be correct as far as that type of behavior would not be tolerated in the past, but the game of baseball has clearly evolved since then. That growth cannot be stopped and whether he like it or not. It is progress for the game of baseball. More on Bautista and the flip later.
Bryce Harper recently took it upon himself to communicate that he is not happy with certain things in the game of baseball today. The whole article from ESPN magazine was great but there are these comments. He starts out by saying that “Baseball is tired”. Which in itself drives me bonkers. The greatest player in the game critiquing the sport that has made him who he is. Wait there is more from the reigning N.L. Most Valuable Player…
“It’s a tired sport, because you cannot express yourself. You can’t do what people in other sports do. I’m not saying baseball, is you know, boring or anything like that, but its the excitement of the young guys who are coming into the game now who have flair. If that’s Matt Harvey or Jacob deGrom or Manny Machado or Joc Pederson or Andrew McCutchen or Yasiel Puig— there’s so many guys in the game now who are so much fun.
Jose Fernandez is a great example. Jose Fernandez will strike you out and stare you down into the dugout and pump his fist. And if you hit a homer and pimp it? He doesn’t care. Because you got him. That’s part of the game. It’s not the old feeling–hoorah–if you pimp a homer. I’m going to hit you right in the teeth. No. If a guy pimps a homer for a game-winning shot…. I mean…. sorry.
If a guy pumps his fist at me on the mound, I’m going to go, “Yeah you got me. Good for you. Hopefully I get you next time.” Thats what makes the game fun. You want kids to play the game, right? What are kids playing these days? Football, basketball. Look at those players– Steph Curry, Lebron James. It’s exciting to see those players in those sports. Cam Newton– I love the way Cam goes about it. He smiles, he laughs. It’s that flair. The dramatic.”
Okay, so where is all this coming from? Why is the man who is about to make half a billion dollars complaining about the sport we all know and love? To some this is an outrage. To others they say he is right. I tend to lean more on the outrage side, all though complaints like this are nothing new from the modern generation of ball players. Just as old guys complain the game lacks respect, the young guys cry that they cannot have fun. It will always be that way. I can remember the outrage of Ken Griffey Jr. wearing his hat backwards on the field.
I’m not naive enough to believe the game will never be changed. The bat flipping, fist pumping game of baseball that Harper wants will probably eventually take place in Major League Baseball. The modern instant gratification society that we live in dictates this. People have no patience for beauty and sophistication because they always have some place to go. Baseball is beautiful and has so many subtle nuances that only a seasoned fan can truly appreciate it.
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