Major League Baseball finds itself in an interesting place as they are promoting the “Let the Kids Play” slogan to encourage players showing more emotion on the field.
Yet, there already have been two benches-clearing incidents this season due to pitchers throwing at batters after they hit home runs and were perceived to have admired it too long or flipped their bats.
Many players and fans are on board with more celebrating throughout the course of games as is the case in sports like basketball, football and soccer. But there are still some purists who think flipping a bat is showing up a pitcher and not having respect for the game.
Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, who is in his 12th season and therefore seen this transformation, recently explained he’s not fully opposed to celebrations, via Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times:
Kershaw suggested all these incidents belonged in a “gray area.” “Does that cross the line?” Kershaw said. “I don’t know anymore. Honestly. I don’t know.” A decade ago, Kershaw indicated, the celebrations from Anderson and Dietrich would have been outliers. But in 2019? “That’s just the way the game is going,” he said. “I’m not going to get offended by it.”
Kershaw has definitely shown his fair share of emotion on the mound so it makes sense that he wouldn’t be mad at hitters doing it as well.
The incidents that sparked these debates early in the season took place when Pittsburgh Pirates starter Chris Archer threw at Cincinnati Reds infielder Derek Dietrich after he admired his home run the at-bat prior.
The same was the case for Kansas City Royals pitcher Brad Keller and Chicago White Sox infielder Tim Anderson.
During the Pirates/Reds melee, former Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was right in the middle of things, pushing and yelling at Pirates players. It earned Puig a two-game suspension in the process.
It will be interesting to see where MLB goes from here in regards to this issue. All the suspensions they have handed out to pitchers for throwing out batters so far have been pretty light, so it does not seem like they are ready to really crack down on the matter.