Dunlap: Baseball Needs More Celebrating, Not Less

Colin Dunlap
May 28, 2019 - 2:45 pm

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Related: Reds' Derek Dietrich Takes A Long Time To Admire Another Home Run

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) - Do this. Don’t do that. Can’t you read the sign? 

Is there a sign? Is it posted anywhere? Heck, for the life of me I can’t find it. I’ve been in a lot of Major League Baseball parks and clubhouses --- damn if I have ever seen a sign. 

What’s “this” anyway? Is “that” allowed only if you are a good player? 

Is it “this” or “that” --- or even both --- that get you plunked in the back side with a 94 mph fastball? 

If you do “that” then is the proper response for our team to do “this?” 

It’s so confusing, it’s so prehistoric and, dare I say, it’s all so dumb. 

I’m guessing baseball will never get rid of its antediluvian unwritten rules, but instead we will just debate them until the end of time … or until someone actually puts up a sign explaining, in great detail, what they all are. But if that happened, I guess they wouldn’t be unwritten anymore, huh?

You see, Derek Dietrich of the Cincinnati Reds has our wonderful city buzzing again because of his penchant for staring down home runs he hits. 

Not staring at people, mind you. 

He doesn’t ogle out toward the mound at any person. 

No, he stares at a ball after he hits it a long way. He looks at a ball. And that bothers people. 

Ostensibly, the claim goes that Dietrich (who entering play Tuesday was hitting .237 with 14 home runs this season) isn’t good enough to do what he does. He isn’t skilled enough, by virtue of his stature in the game, to admire his work. 

That’s been one claim, but there are others. 

Dietrich is also said by some to have stepped out of the “time and place” parameters as he rubbernecked a home run on Monday as the score was already 6-1. Allegedly, that’s a big no-no. 

I’m a big baseball guy. I played the game for many, many years. Get this: I’ve even hit home runs well over the fence. Know what I have never done? Pimped it. 

I just kind of put my head down and got around the bases and minded my business; nothing like what Dietrich did and certainly it didn’t take me upwards of 30 seconds as it took him on Monday. 

It wasn’t my style and never will be. 

But also know this: What he does after he accomplishes something is his business. Unless he is staring at an opposing player or mouthing off tos omeone after he hits the home run, I couldn’t care in the least what he does. 

He hit it a long way, he’s free to be proud how he likes. 

That said, I also don’t understand how doing what he did has people so jammed up. 

It feels like baseball’s unwritten rules are the only portion of life where the person who didn’t accomplish as much gets to make the rules for the person who succeeded. Know what I mean here? What in the heck kind of world is it where the person who failed (the pitcher or defense in this case) gets to cry and whine about how the person who prospered (the hitter) celebrates an accomplishment? 

I just don’t get it. 

Try applying that attitude to any other facet of life and you see how absurd it is --- the loser doesn’t get to make the rules.  

Truth be told this has very little to do with Dietrich or the Reds or Pirates. Instead it feels like it is the pervasive thought in all of baseball. A sort of “that guy better not show me up!” mindset wherein the defeated person --- and fans of his team --- feel affronted.

Try this one on: Don’t want a guy to celebrate or stare at a ball or do jumping jacks down the first base line? Then get him out. Make better pitches. Throw it by him. Make him swing and miss. Do better. 

It is a few times a summer it feels like we go down this road in baseball. And, again, this isn’t Pirates centric --- it is an issue for seemingly any player in the game who feels as if they are being “shown up” by a man who just smashed a home run. 

I have the cure all. I know that few are interested because many, many, many more appear interested in walking in line with the outdated and archaic unwritten rules. 

But, make no mistake, I have a solution and it is simple. 

It goes like this out on the field: You worry about you and I’ll worry about me. 

If everyone subscribed to such an ideology, we’d never have a “situation” like what’s going on with Derek Dietrich. ​

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