Big-league baseball, it’s been said for generations, is a boys’ game played by men.
Never is that more evident than when the home team wins a game in the bottom of the ninth inning on a walk-off home run or base hit.
As if they’ve just won a league pennant to advance to the World Series, players leap from the dugout and sprint onto the field where they greet the game’s hero at the plate on a walk-off home run. As soon as he crosses home, the mob of teammates jumps up and down, slapping the player on the helmet, on the back and on the saddle, if not giving him a few playful jabs to the ribs.
It’s almost a more chaotic scene after a walk-off base hit. That’s when the team chases down the hero – who usually is running away from the mob – on the base paths. When they catch him, it’s not unusual for the player’s jersey to be ripped from his torso.
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If you play for the A’s, you usually end up with a shaving-cream pie across the face that’s quickly rinsed clean by a bucket of water or Gatorade.
We’re all for fun and good times in baseball, but have these walk-off celebrations become too excessive? Why should a team that’s 15 games below .500 in July celebrate as if it won the seventh game of a World Series?
Should wild, on-the-field celebrations be saved for meaningful postseason victories?
Bob Costas, the longtime NBC sportscaster, once called walk-off celebrations by a losing team “another indication of the decline of Western civilization.”
Maybe that’s a bit too extreme, but he has a point.
Baseball will never curtail walk-off celebrations since they follow exciting finishes – as long as they don’t taunt the opposing team.
Still, it would be nice for teams to show some postgame decorum. There’s nothing wrong with a slap on the back for winning a game. But it’s just one game, not the World Series.
Victor Contreras, (916) 326-5527 @sacbeevictor
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