Joe Maddon may be about having fun after a win and never letting the pressure exceed the pleasure, but this week’s hot bat flip topic has him decidedly in the “not” category.
That said, Maddon noted the he never would instruct his players *not* to do it. He believes in giving freedom (“to not interfere with Javy having flair with how he plays, as an example”) and feels that creates respect and discipline from players in return.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) April 19, 2019
I don’t really like the process or the outcome in this response, but the more I think about it, I suppose I don’t know what else I would expect a manager to say, Maddon or otherwise. (Except for the “pitcher is offended” thing … are we really going to excuse pitchers for being soft babies who get their feelings hurt by bat flips? Shouldn’t we expect a little more out of them? Boo hoo, I made a crappy pitch and the batter crushed it and hurt my feelings so I had to throw a rock at him? Seriously?)
It’s a thorny spot to be in for a manager of players who feel very differently and very strongly about this stuff, and although Maddon went much further in poo-poo’ing the fun than I would have wanted to see from a manager, he’s as entitled to his opinion as I am. And I hope he’s sincere in his respect for the players to have their own opinion, too.
Is there a line where you can do DO much to celebrate something minimal? Of course. I think Tim Anderson did. And that’s all fair game to be discussed, debated, and enjoyed! I prefer big celebrations for big moments. That’s my personal preference as a fan when I watch. But mostly, I just want to see players free to do what they feel.
At core, it’s not *really* about the bat flips. Or the pitcher celebrations. Or the histrionics. It’s about a desire to let players just be themselves without fearing some unwritten rule is gonna cost them a pitch in a ear hole.
Fans want to see great plays, and they want to see that the players CARE about those great plays. Look at literally any other sport and you will see the celebratory style is part of the passionate fun. Why this has been such a battle in baseball – in 2019 – is mind boggling to me. Heck, MLB came up with the slogan and ad campaign LET THE KIDS PLAY.