The message that Major League Baseball is trying to send this season is to “let the kids play.”
In a sport where interest is being lost and pace of play is too slow to keep some viewers watching, MLB needed something to keep its fans around. So, why not let the stars show emotion and make baseball fun?
Sadly, Wednesday was a harsh reminder of how some teams hate having fun. Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson sent his fourth home run of the season over the left field fence at Guaranteed Rate Field.
It was gone from the moment it left the bat, and Anderson let everyone know it. Just a few steps out of the batters box, Anderson turned toward his team’s dugout, threw his bat and shouted in excitement. He gave the White Sox, a team struggling amidst a rebuild, a 2-0 lead against a division rival and didn’t hide his emotions.
But the Kansas City Royals aren’t fans of fun. In Anderson’s next at-bat, he got a hit by a pitch in the butt. It was clearly an intentional act by Brad Keller to show his displeasure over Anderson’s earlier antics.
Both benches cleared leading to Anderson, Keller, White Sox manager Rick Renteria and Royals bench coach Dale Sveum getting ejected. But it makes no sense.
Honestly it’s one of the dumbest parts of baseball.
Maybe someone should explain it to me, because I don’t get it. Anderson hits a home run. He’s excited. The opposing team finds it wrong that he celebrated. So they throw a 92 mile per hour fastball at him?
The pitch hit Anderson in the butt, but what if that pitch got away? What if Keller missed his spot, and it hit Anderson on the wrist, ankle or face?
Because Anderson did what he needed to do and hit a home run, he risked a season- or career-ending injury his next time up. It sounds extreme, but what if?
Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Chris Archer has always been flashy. After a big strikeout, he’s been known to jog backwards into the dugout or shout in excitement.
Does this mean that batters should look to hit a line drive up the middle the next time they come up to face him?
What confuses me even more is that the Royals think they gain something from this. Instead they put the team at a disadvantage.
When Anderson was hit by the pitch, the game was tied at two in the sixth innings and allowed Chicago to get the potentially tie-breaking run on base.
Congratulations Kansas City, you proved two things.
One, you hate having fun. Two, you’re willing to risk losing to prove you hate having fun.
Why not have Keller try to strike out Anderson? Send him back to the dugout and have Keller celebrate the out.
But that’s not what baseball is or has been.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the sport and continue to watch games everyday. However, I’ve seen the negatives baseball presents.
I’ve seen games drag on with mound visits, pitching changes and extra innings, but I’ve also seen the highs of the sport.
I’ve seen walk-offs, big time strikeouts and awesome bat flips.
But I’ve also seen too much stupidity. There is no need to get back at someone for celebrating by risking an injury.
Get the batter out. Throw your best pitch and strike him out. It seems much more productive than allowing him to get on first base.
Anderson celebrated his home run, and the Royals took offense. So, they helped him out.
They allowed his on-base percentage to increase. Congratulations Kansas City Royals, you’re the latest example of “be better.”