Since the emergence of Dodgers player and Cuban defector Yasiel Puig there has been something of a discussion on the "proper way" for baseball to be conducted. The continued presence of the Dodgers in the playoffs, at least for now suggests an important point needs to be discussed.
The right way to play baseball, or any sport is the way that wins. In Atlanta's playoff series against the Dodgers, the team tried an failed to execute the time honored strategy of being joyless insufferable villains in the vein of Ty Cobb or Bob Gibson1 Some people seek to turn this into a demographic argument,2 though there may be a cultural one somewhere.
In this present Cardinals-Dodgers series, though it isn't touched on much by either the fanbases or the sports writers working on puns, the proper way to view these small on field celebrations is as legitimate weapons fielded in the game. Both teams do this but sometimes the execution happens at perilous times endangering the success of more fundamental gameplay.
Losing hurts. Losing should hurt. Competition has as its objective finding out who is better, not finding out who handles their butthurt with the most grace. These small celebrations are injurious to the morale of the opposition. Wise pitchers know this, and this is why they will often give a batter who celebrated a bit too much after their last home run a free base in the form of a 90+ mile per hour fastball into their back, ribs, or ass. The retaliation, much like the celebration is designed to demoralize the opposition.
As this last game or two of the NLCS is played remember that the only moral competition happening isn't who can play with the most class, but who wins more.
- Both of whom were true masters of the game. The executed this brilliantly and have the career records to demonstrate this. [↩]
- It should be noted the lily white Cardinals team of the Gashouse Gang era recieved similar ciriticism, the cultural clash there involving goofy country bumpkins. [↩]