Jake Arrieta joined David Kaplan and Jesse Rogers on Chicago’s ESPN 1000 on Tuesday. He was asked about players flipping their bats in celebration after a home run.
It’s not surprising that Arrieta feels this way, but it’s also disappointing. Major League Baseball wonders why fans are gravitating towards other sports like the NBA and it’s because their players can actually express themselves in the arena. Mike Trout is the best player baseball has seen since Ken Griffey, Jr. and he’s about as interesting as paint drying on a wall. That’s because baseball tamps down players’ impulses to express themselves, to show emotion. Active pitchers (like Arrieta), former players (like Goose Gossage), and commentators preserve this outmoded mentality where emotionless play is correct and it is sapping the sport of personality.
If I were commissioner, I’d stop trying to fiddle with the rules to try and make the sport interesting. Instead, I would try to bring out the best in the players, make them relatable to fans. And I’d make a phone call every time someone like Arrieta speaks in favor of hurting players who dare to show emotion on the field.