Craig Calcaterra

Edwin Encarnacion

How DARE those ballplayers have fun?

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Phil Mushnick of the New York Post does what he does best (i.e. the only thing he does so, by default, it’s what he does best) today, which is angrily decrying any athlete who shows any sort of fun, exuberance or personality on the field/court/diamond/ice. That just about every athlete who does these things to offend Mushnick is black or Latino is a total coincidence, I’m sure, but we’ll leave that for another day.

Anyway, he’s on about Edwin Encarnacion today, and how on Friday he hit a homer and did his arm-up, walk the parrot thing, which he’s been doing for a couple of years now. As far as home run celebrations it’s pretty tame. Far less than what Jeffrey Leonard was doing with his flap-down thing back in the day, even if Mushnick defers to “old timers” who would never do things like that who happen to have been Leonard’s contemporaries. But again, never mind such inconsistencies.

What I like is how Mushnick talks about Paul O’Neill and David Cone talked about it all on the Yankees’ broadcast:

“Does that bother you, Coney?” O’Neill asked David Cone. And it likely bothered O’Neill, or he wouldn’t have asked.

What we know personally and professionally about Cone is he must hate it; hate it as a former pitcher, a dad, a sportsman and a right-headed human.

Except he then quotes Cone, who says he really has no problem with it and explains that it’s Encarnacion’s game, he and his fellow players have defined it and if they’re OK with it, he’s OK with it. Mushnick’s explanation: Cone must be forced to say what he doesn’t believe on the air and that, in his heart, he MUST agree with Mushnick’s old man take on it.

It’s bad enough that there are people who are so utterly joyless that they see sports the way Mushnick does. As the most serious possible undertaking, requiring some level of respect, humility that would make a medieval cleric say “damn, dude, lighten up, maybe?” But it’s another thing altogether to assume that most other people must feel that way too, including all “dads” and “right-headed humans.”

Sports is often, and maybe even usually fun for players. It’s entertainment for all of us. Let the players have fun and let the audience be entertained. What’s so hard about that?

Bryce Harper is in the Nationals’ lineup today

Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper, right, is helped up from the field after he collided with a Miami Marlins infielder in the first inning of a baseball game, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
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Bryce Harper was pulled from yesterday’s game against the Marlins after a colliding with Miami second baseman Derek Dietrich, and afterward he said he was dizzy. He took the concussion tests, however, and has gotten the all-clear and will be in the starting lineup, batting third against the Phillies tonight.

Of course, getting the all-clear and being 100% aren’t the same thing so we’ll see how the presumptive and deserving MVP does after a bout of dizziness.

A-Rod had a day that wouldve been impossible to imagine a year ago

Alex Rodriguez Hal Steinbrenner
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A baseball player tagged up from third base and scored on a fly ball yesterday that wasn’t terribly deep but wasn’t exactly on the grass line. Which is a baseball play that happens fairly often. Not terribly uncommon, I suppose. Unless the ballplayer is old and slow. So slow that he claims to be the slowest man in baseball.

Alex Rodriguez was the baserunner and Didi Gregorius hit the fly ball. As Ken Davidoff of the New York Post wrote yesterday, Gregorius thought A-Rod had no chance of scoring. After the game, A-Rod said “that’s how the slowest man in baseball looks.” Here’s how he looked:

It was a good day all around for Rodriguez. In addition to scoring on that play, he was honored for his 3,000th hit earlier this year:

“On a day like today, I’m incredibly grateful [to] the Steinbrenners, to the Yankees. First class all the way. And it’s rare for me that I get to celebrate a day with my mother, two daughters, manager, teammates and obviously the fans.”

Alex Rodriguez using his hustle to score a run for the seemingly playoff-bound Yankees in mid-September on a day on which he was honored by the team. What would the betting odds of that sentence being true have been a year ago at this time?