Can we all agree that baseball should be fun? It should, right? For kids in Little League, for college kids, for the guys in the minors and, yes, even for the players at the major league level, the game should be fun. I believe this with all my heart. I want the players on my team to play hard and be successful but I also want them to have some fun. Isn’t that why so many go into sports? To make money while having fun? Yes, I decree playing baseball should be fun.
So when the occasional player does something to show joy that others might consider showing up the opposing team, I usually don’t mind. Who decides which displays of joy are approved and which aren’t? Why are the parties at home plate when a team hits a walk-off all right? Why don’t opposing teams get upset when closers fistpump or scream after a win? Who says those things are part of the game but if a batter flips a bat after a home run he’s showing up the pitcher?
I ask these questions because last night Aroldis Chapman got a save last night against the Milwaukee Brewers. Bronson Arroyo took a no-hitter into the 8th inning and lost it, and then lost the lead shortly there after. The Reds gained back to lead on a Drew Stubbs home run and Chapman’s save gave Cincinnati a 4-3 win. Chapman was obviously pleased that he got the save (walking Ryan Braun on four pitches but striking out the other three batters he faced) and instead of walking up to his catcher to shake his hand, he dropped to the ground and did two somersaults before he got to catcher Ryan Hanigan. It was funny and (seemed) spontaneous and just freaking adorable.
Which, of course, prompted many online to immediately start complaining about it.
Brewers fans were (are) apparently up in arms that Chapman had the nerve to be so “bush”. This makes me laugh out loud. In September of 2009, the Prince Fielder, then with the Milwaukee Brewers, hit a walk-off home run against the San Francisco Giants in the 12th inning of an almost 4 hour-long game. His teammates set themselves up like bowling pins at home plate and Fielder ran into them like the bowling ball and they all fell over. Ahahahaha. Fun, right? Well the Giants didn’t think so and Fielder got plunked by Barry Zito in his first at-bat that next Spring Training. Many Brewers fans then complained that it was all just in fun because it’s baseball and the team had been looking for different ways to celebrate a walk-off. Yay, baseball! Right?
So without my commenting on the bowling thing, I’m curious what Brewers fans who are calling for a Reds player to be hit today are thinking. Why is it okay for an entire team to do something like the bowling pin celebration but it isn’t all right for a pitcher to do what Chapman did last night?
I wish that complaining about Chapman’s somersaults was the worst thing about baseball last night. But it wasn’t. I’m going to go with what happened at Yankee Stadium.
Here’s the situation: The score is 4-0, Yankees over Indians, in the top of the seventh. Michael Brantley starts off with a double and his teammates follow up with two outs, moving him to third on one of them. Jack Hannahan comes up to bat and, on the fourth pitch he sees, hits a 93 MPH fastball to left field. Yankee DeWayne Wise, obviously wanting some of the love Jeter gets for doing the same, dives into the stands to catch the ball. The ball bounces off his glove and around the fans until a fan in a red shirt gets a hold of it. Wise comes out of the stands with his glove closed and third base umpire Mike DiMuro calls it a catch…inning over. DiMuro didn’t bother to ask to see the ball and pretty much ignored the guy in the red shirt who was holding up the ball. When the Indians dugout caught wind of what happened, Jack Hannahan had words with DiMuro who then kicked him out of the game.
Wait a minute, I need to repeat one part that blows my mind. Actually, I’m going to quote from the MLB.com story:
The ball hit Wise’s glove for a moment as he fell into the seats down the third-base line, and DiMuro, believing Wise secured the ball, made an out call after Wise disappeared into the crowd. Pellegrino attempted to put the ball back in the left fielder’s glove, but with Wise too far away, Pellegrino lifted it for 43,006 at Yankee Stadium to see.
You’ll have to forgive me while I bang my head for a moment or two.
In my opinion, this isn’t a case of an umpire missing a call…he didn’t do his job properly and he should be held responsible for that. Then, after not doing his job, he decides the best way to pretend it didn’t happen was to eject the player he wronged.
Hannahan said he did not curse at DiMuro, and DiMuro said he tossed the third baseman after Hannahan told him to reference the replay. DiMuro did after New York’s win, and he acknowledged the mistake.
He got thrown out because he told the umpire to reference the play? Does that even make sense?
There’s no way to tell how the call affected the game (the Indians came back with four runs in the 9th inning and still lost 6-4) so I won’t even make it about that. What I’m making it about is how this wasn’t a blown call due to poor positioning (or due to just blowing the call). He didn’t do something that as an umpire he’s supposed to do and that deserves some kind of punishment. (Personally, I think he should be suspended.)
The best news of the night was the Red Sox winning. Today we get a rare weekday afternoon game (a 1:35 game with Jon Lester on the mound). Another win will do wonders for my mood, fellas.