One of the biggest stories over the last few weeks has been the meteoric rise of one Domonic Brown, who has apparently took it upon himself to hit all of the home runs. In his last 12 games, he's got ten of them, and coming into Thursday's game against the Milwaukee Brewers, his 18 bombs on the season is enough to lead the National League. Along with his power surge has come a little bit of swag, as the outfielder has been employing a bit of a bat flip (at times) and a post-home run celebration, usually with Ryan Howard. Some have come to notice Brown's antics, and not in a good way, according to the Inquirer's Bob Brookover...
Equally disturbing to some is the leftfielder's routine after he crosses home plate. He has a ritual handshake with teammate Ryan Howard when the Phillies' cleanup hitter scores in front of him, and he also has a martial arts-type salute in which he puts his hands together.
"Brown better watch it with that weak act he's pulling after his home runs," one scout said. "He's going to tick off the wrong pitcher and wind up wearing it. There are a lot of people watching who hope it changes soon. It's very unprofessional."
Oh, grow up. The kid is having fun on the baseball field, what's the big deal? There's a lot to be said about unwritten rules and decorum and acting like you've been there and all that, but this is so much making a mountain of of a mole hill. What Dom Brown is doing isn't any different than what literally thousands of players before him have done, namely David Ortiz, who did something after a home run last week that is less of a bat flip and more of a bat throw. But, you don't hear anyone chirping about Big Papi, do you?
During this year's World Baseball Classic, there was a bit of hubbub about how the Dominican Republic team acted during some of the games, specifically related to the amount of celebration that took place over the course of the tournament. While most folks seemed to enjoy the enthusiasm (this blogger included), there was certainly a segment of fans that weren't so enthused about the on-the-field behavior, even though it took place during an exhibition tournament, and was actually pretty fun to watch.
These discussions are interesting, because it's almost as if those who take offense feel as if though there is something in the rule book that prohibits anything more than a smile after a great act of baseball. Do some players maybe go too far in celebrating? Sure, maybe they do, but let's not forget that this is a game - a game! It's not like Dom Brown is a judge and is spiking his gavel after ruling on a court case or something. They are being paid a crazy amount of money to play a game that most of us would love to play for free, so God forbid if they want to enjoy themselves a bit. The MLB might have been dwarfed in popularity by the NFL, but at least they actually let the players celebrate.
As far as the celebrations go, I don't mind a little bit of attitude or moxie coming from a young player who is coming into his own. Dom Brown is utterly destroying the ball right now, and if other players have a problem with that, maybe they should try to keep him from leaving the yard instead of whining about it. As long as his behavior isn't out of bounds or done in such a fashion that is deliberately trying to show up the other team, I am OK with it.
Besides, it's not like Brown is some scrub journeyman, either. He's dominating the game right now, so you have to allow for a little bit of that. If he was a career minor leaguer who was flipping his bat after his fourth career home run, then you'd have reason to take exception to his behavior.
There is something to be said about being stoic after hitting a home run or striking a guy out, but that's not everyone's style. Sometimes you have to cut loose a little bit and actually look like you're having fun out there.