Joe Maddon said yesterday that he does not want his Cubs hitters to “pimp” home runs. To stand and admire their shots, gesticulate and emote and all of that:
“It’s act like you’ve done it before and you can do it again,” he said. “The touchdown celebration, all that stuff, pounding your chest after dunking a basketball, all this stuff that’s become part of today’s generation of athletes – whether you agree with it being right or wrong doesn’t matter. I would just prefer that our guys would act like they’ve done it before and that they’re going to do it again.”
I don’t mind a little celebration from time to time as long as it’s not aimed at the other team in a taunting manner. But really, this is a fair stance to have. Especially when you have a young team like Maddon has now.
But it’s probably worth noting that it’s not always the stance that Maddon has had. Remember two years ago when Yunel Escobar was in a little dustup with the Blue Jays after he hit a home run and made a “safe” sign as he crossed home plate. After first voicing his displeasure at Escobar, Maddon reversed himself the next day:
“Some people point to the sky, he shows a safe sign. For me I love the way he is. I want him to remain the way he is. He did nothing wrong. … People that want to say that he did, that’s a fabrication on somebody’s part based on your own personal judgments, period … I’m never going to attempt to subtract from his celebratory manner.”
Also worth noting that Maddon had a closer back in those days who fired invisible arrows into the sky after each save.
My guess: Maddon doesn’t really care for the celebration stuff but, with Tampa Bay, had to be more diplomatic about it because the players who celebrated were veterans and you can’t really win by getting into battles with veterans. Now that he has a younger team, including a lot of young hitters with very little experience, he can be a bit more forward about voicing his displeasure with that stuff.
But really, man: a little flexing never hurt anyone. It can be kind of fun.