Celebrate Cause Times Are A Changing

Man today’s players just don’t respect the game or their opponents. Years ago, they never would’ve celebrated on the field:

Yes, that’s Kirk Gibson celebrating a homerun off of Goose Gossage. That was from the 1984 World Series. You know what I couldn’t find anywhere? Gossage condemning Gibson for the celebration. Sure, it would seem like sour grapes, but he had a platform then and didn’t use it. 

Now?  Well now, the Hall of Famer rails against how players today celebrate. He called Jose Bautista and Yoenis Cespedes and their celebrations to be an embarrassment and disgrace to the game. He’s apparently taking issue with the bat flips:

Gossage comes off like an old man lamenting how things were better in his day. He is remembering the days when if you hit a homerun, you put your head down and rounded the bases. No one out there showed any emotion so as to not show anyone up.  They knew if they did the pitcher was going to stick one in your ear. The thing is that he has selective memory. Additionally, times have changed. 

In an ESPN the Magazine interview with Tim KeownBryce Harper shared his thoughts on player celebrating on the field:

Baseball’s tired. It’s a tired sport, because you can’t express yourself. You can’t do what people in other sports do. I’m not saying baseball is, you know, boring or anything like that, but it’s the excitement of the young guys who are coming into the game who have flair. If that’s Matt Harvey or Jacob deGrom or Joc Pederson or Andrew McCutchen or Yasiel Puig — there’s so many guys in the game now who are so much fun. 

Jose Fernandez is a great example. Jose Fernandez will strike you out and stare you down in the dugout and pump his fist. And if you hit a homer and pimp it?  He doesn’t care. Because you got him. That’s part of the game.  It’s not the old feeling — hoorah . . . if you pimp a homer, I’m going to hit you right in the teeth. No. If a guy pimps a homer for a game-winning shot . . . I mean — sorry. 

If a guy pumps his fist at me on the mound, I’m going to go, ‘Yeah, you got me. Good for you. Hopefully I’ll get you next time.’  That’s what makes the game fun. 

Overall, Harper’s thoughts represent a a change in the culture of baseball. 

Players today are more apt to celebrate on the field. Their celebrations are more elaborate. When these celebrations happen, players seem to take it the same way Heyward says he takes it. 

Sure, there are current players who feel differently than Bautista, Cespedes, and Heyward. Apparently, there were people like Kirk Gibson who felt differently than Goose Gossage when it came to celebrating a homerun back in the day when Gossage pitched. 

If this is the current culture of the sport, we should all accept it. As long as these bat flips don’t result in players getting plunked, who are we to judge?  In fact, what Harper states is that the celebrations fuel him to get the pitcher the next time. If these celebrations are both fun and bring out the best in everyone on the field, how can this be anything but good for baseball?  

For baseball’s part, they seem to be embracing it showing the bat flips in commercials and putting them on YouTube. Baseball is going it because the culture has changed from the time Goose Gossage has played the game. Players want to celebrate, and fans want to see it. 

The culture of baseball has changed whether or not the Goose Gossages of the world approve. 

Editor’s Note: this article first appeared on metsmerizedonline.com