Sadly the game of baseball is already adjusting to the modern generation. Home plate collisions and taking out middle infielders on slides is just the beginning. The crowds that attend games are even protected now because they cannot stay focused. Brand new netting around the whole infield will be in every ball park because high ticket prices have forced the “real” fans that bring their glove and pay attention to the game to the upper decks and outfield stands. These fans are out of the way of harm and replaced by the modern entitled fan who comes to the game only to stare at their phone and not pay attention. These are the same fans that demand more action in the game. It’s like going to a movie that is a drama and demanding it have more action. Doesn’t make sense to me. The game of baseball is a long drawn out story full of ups and downs. It is not and never should be a clown show meant to entertain the thoughtless.
Back to the comments from the young slugger. Harper complains that he can’t express himself. That is mind-boggling because he expresses himself when he fails to hustle on the field. Something he has been called out for in the past and the issue that lead to his fight with Jonathan Papelbon in the National’s dugout. For the most part Harper plays the game the correct way. He is great with the fans and appears to enjoy himself playing the game. However he is 23 and shouldn’t speak as though he has 20 years of Major League service time. It just sounds ignorant and you can be sure major league players will come out against his comments. Just ask Sergio Romo what his beliefs are.
For him to claim he can’t express himself is dumbfounding. If he expects to be able to do somersaults down the first base line after hitting a long home run, he has another thing coming. Players in the game already have their antics when they take a pitcher deep. How much more “flair” do they need to show? The game of baseball is almost 140 years old. It should be respected and treasured for being America’s past time. Not altered to please this modern video game era we live in.
Harper brings in the names of Manny Machado and Yasiel Puig. He talks about these guys among others as players who like to have fun. Both players have had issues with going too far though. Machado got into a crazy altercation last year with Josh Donaldson and the Blue Jays and Puig is seemingly always caught doing the incorrect thing on the field. Yes, both players have fun and nobody has an issue with that. It is the times when you fail to hustle or think you are bigger than the game which irk fellow players and the fans.
Also to tell me Jose Fernandez would not take offense to someone pimping a home run off of him is crazy talk. I don’t know if Harper has seen that widely spread video of Fernandez and Evan Longoria chatting it up during a game in which Longo took Fernandez deep, but I assure you Fernandez would take offense to a player embarrassing him on the field. Players would wear it after showboating and that is the way it should be. Respect the game, respect your opponent.
That is exactly what it all comes down to in the end. You play the game of baseball to win, but you never play to embarrass your opponent. There are unwritten rules like that and these rules are meant for the betterment of the sport. The game of baseball is difficult to play, and to express yourself after having brief success like a strike out or home run is natural. You are allowed a certain amount of celebration but you never want to rub it in your opponents face.
Now back to Schmidt and Rich “Goose” Gossage and their issues with the bat flip. Just stop already. We understand you guys are old school type of players, but the game is not. You whining about the bat flip is worse than the actual act itself. Those type of bat flipping antics would not fly in your generation, but it’s not that era anymore. All though some players still play the game that way, the majority do not. Deal with it old timers. Just as in life, change happens and it can be a scary thing. Especially to an elder player who loves the game and was taught in a different manner.
Baseball is like life. I always state this. That is why I love the sport so much. Yes the game is boring from time to time. So is life. It should not be changed to cater to these lazy people who demand more action. Baseball is not like other sports and it shouldn’t be. Kids still play the game of baseball. They need to. It teaches them about life. About failure. When you are up at the plate all eyes are on you. If you strikeout, everyone sees it. You fail in life and you constantly fail in the game of baseball. It is what you do after that failure which makes you who you are in life.
Harper is a huge talent. At the age of 23, he has an incredible future in this league. I don’t think any 23-year-old in any capacity should speak about the state of a game that is 140 plus years old and has managed to sustain itself. In this MMA society we live in, people want that instant gratification. Baseball will not give that to you. It is not the WWE either. It’s purpose is not to entertain you, but those that love the game will easily be entertained. Stop trying to bring in new fans by changing the game before it is ready. You cannot force the change, let it happen. And to the old timers, let the change happen and enjoy it. Stop taking offense to every time a young player does things that were not typically done in your time. It’s sad but the game is always in motion. It slows down for nobody. Not even Mike Schmidt or Goose Gossage.