Sometimes baseball players are criticized for not appreciating that they get paid a lot of money to play a kids’ game. Sometimes they are criticized for realizing that they’re playing a kids’ game and acting accordingly. Just can’t win!
That was the case with the Dodgers last night anyway. First, Adrian Gonzalez doubled and was pumped up about it, gesturing enthusiastically to his teammates in the Dodgers dugout. Then, later, Yasiel Puig tripled and — because his depth perception was off and because he’s faster than hell — he (a) celebrated what he thought was a homer out of the box; and (b) celebrated what actually turned out to be a triple when he got to third:
Not surprisingly the Cardinals who, with the Braves out of the playoffs, are the ranking active Fun Police, took issue. First Adam Wainwright on Gonzalez’s enthusiasm:
“I saw Adrian doing some Mickey Mouse stuff on third base, but I didn’t see what Yasiel did. Those guys are fired up. This is playoff baseball, they want it over there.”
Translation: it’s OK to be pumped, but you should be pumped in a particular way or else it’s “Mickey Mouse.” Here’s Carlos Beltran on Puig:
“I think he doesn’t know,” Beltran said. “He still thinks he’s playing somewhere else, I don’t know. He has a lot of passion, no doubt about that. Great ability, great talent, and I think with time, he will learn that you have to sometimes act a little bit more calm … It’s not great, I don’t like it, but what can I say? I don’t play for them. I just play over here and need to do my job.”
My view: Gonzalez wasn’t taunting anyone. He directed nothing at the Cardinals. He was fired up and was trying to fire up his teammates. Not sure how anyone can call that “Mickey Mouse.” Heck, until recently I thought the knock on Gonzalez was that he lacked fire and was dour. Again, can’t win.
Puig? Puig is, well, Puig. And while I can imagine you don’t like it if he’s doing that against your team, I can’t see how anyone can watch that guy and not smile. He’s enjoying himself. Yes, the game will humble him — until yesterday it had been pretty well in recent days — but there’s nothing wrong with being pumped up and enthused. And it is enthusiasm. It’s spontaneous. It’s not like he’s choreographing moves out there.
Don’t want those guys doing that stuff? Keep ’em off base. That shuts everyone up.