Andrew Baggarly on what's been described as the greatest home-run celebration, ever:
- The Milwaukee Brewers are finished playing the Giants this season, which is probably good for Prince Fielder's health.
You've probably seen the stunt he and his teammates pulled after his walk-off home run beat the Giants in the 12th inning Sunday...
Fielder gestured several times to his bench while on his way to second base, presumably to make sure his teammates were ready to carry through the plan. Then he purposefully untucked his jersey, which was so long it fell below his knees. When he jumped on home plate, his teammates toppled like they were hit by a shockwave. And Prince preened with a both-arms-in-the-air pose.
Initially, I have to say, I laughed. It was clever.
Look, I'm not against players having fun on the field. It's a game and fans buy tickets to be entertained. Every time a college football player gets flagged for the tiniest bit of exuberance, I shake my head. Let the kid enjoy the moment a little bit, huh?
But if you have any knowledge or appreciation for the culture of baseball, you know Fielder's stunt was over the top. It was disrespectful. And if he's going to pull stuff like that, he's got absolutely no right to take umbrage the next time a pitcher gets revenge with a fastball to the ribs. Hey, he's got plenty of built-in padding, anyway.
Fielder can risk retaliation if he wants. But it seldom ends there. He's putting his teammates at risk, too, and possibly putting his pitchers in a bad position. But I guess they all were active participants, so maybe all of them should be on alert.
I'm not sure why it's "Fielder's stunt." Yeah, he seems to have been in on it from the get-go. But all he did was jump on the plate with a bit of extra gusto, his teammates surrounding him. These days, that's what happens every time a player hits a walk-off home run. His teammates were more than active participants; Fielder hit the home run and his teammates wound up being the big show.
Anyway, my reaction was the same as Baggarly's: I laughed because it was clever. And I'm sorry, but I'm not changing my mind just because a bunch of Giants supposedly took umbrage. This is one of those classic situations where you love the guy if he's on your team and you hate him if he's not.
You know what? If Pablo Sandoval was mad at the Brewers, it's probably because he didn't think of it first.