Tuesday, September 8, 2009
3 Quick Opinions: The Prince Fielder Celebration
On Sunday, Brewers 1B Prince Fielder crushed an extra innings walk-off home run to beat the Giants. Fielder and the Brewers celebrated with an obviously pre-planned routine as Fielder emphatically stomped on home plate while his surrounding teammates collapsed en masse. Y'all can check it out here. While channel surfing on Monday, I came across the predictable old-school "disrespecting the game" meme from the Talentless Bill Ripken of the MLB Network in response to the Brewers' antics. I wanted the opinions of two real baseball fans, so I hit up Eugene Tierney of Tailgate Crashers and Tom Daniels of One New York East Coast Bias Life for their thoughts. Me first.
Aaron: I loved it. L-O-V-E-D it. And, I'm generally not a fan of the porcine Prince or his douchebaggery (called "intensity" by Brewers fans). No one wants baseball to follow football's lead where random tackles are celebrated like winning the lottery or basketball where the preening and superficiality often overshadow the game. But, if the Brewers want to give their fans a memorable moment – in what's been a forgettable season – then, go crazy. The game was over and it was a cool visual. Baseball really needs to get over itself.
Eugene: The things a non-contender will do to make themselves feel better about not being good. The Brewers are well known (at least in St. Louis) for being a classless team when it comes to celebrations - any walk-off homer becomes a cause to untuck the jersey and make an a** of themselves. Too bad that extra inning win doesn't mean anything more than just another game played.
The sad thing is about the Brewers is they could be good, but their childish behavior shows why they won't make it out of a series in October.
Ochocinco and T.O. would be proud.
Tom: I had friends visit for the holiday weekend so I didn't catch this until late last night on ESPN. When I saw the celebration two things surprised me: 1) the ESPN anchor didn't use the opportunity to editorialize a little on either how awful or awesome it was and 2) when I flipped to MLB Network, they hadn't already shifted to 24/7 righteous indignation mode.I've never understood the issue with post-game celebrations. You won. The team accomplished its goal for the day. I understand why teams have an issue with, say, Joba Chamberlain celebrating a fifth inning strikeout like he just single-handedly won a pennant but winning a game? Converting a save or a walk-off hit?
Besides, for anyone who has a problem here -- I'm not quite sure how this is any different then a "hop around on the plate" mob, David Ortiz's/A-Rod's helmet flip, or AJ Burnett's pie-in-the-face gimmick.And let's not pretend Albert's never admired a shot out of the box -- lest we forget his NLCS shot off Brad Lidge that might still be traveling. Or the 2006 Cardinals throwing the "Jose" chant back in the Met fans' faces.
Eugene: I don't have a problem with celebrations, when there is something to really celebrate. What did the Brewers accomplish with the win? One game closer to being a .500 team - no real need for a choreographed celebration for a game that will be forgotten in a week. The 2 instances you mentioned were both in the post-season, when the games were important (plus, Albert isn't the nicest guy around -- a hell of a player, but I've never cared for him as a person).
Tom: Forgotten in a week. You just outlined why no one should care about post-game celebrations either. If it was bad enough, Prince will eat a fastball next year. But it's likely he won't because by the time the Brewers play the Giants again this will be long, long forgotten.
Aaron: People still think that a generation of kids have been turned off of baseball because of World Series night games or exorbitant ticket prices or one of a dozen other tired excuses. The reality is that Major League Baseball – and those who play it, run it and report on it – actively tamp down individual personalities while simultaneously expecting casual fans to be lured by three-and-a-half hour games, repetitive pitching changes and teams that are playing out the string.