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MLB Celebrations: Everyone Has a Different Perspective

It's a fool's game to try to get every MLB player to just accept any sort of celebration by his opponent.

We are once again talking about MLB celebrations. After the tomfoolery that occurred in Game 2 of the NLDS between San Diego and Los Angeles, the “Let The Kids Play” Eye of Sauron turned to Padres players like Manny Machado, who took exception to Brusdar Graterol’s celebrations.

The San Diego Padres took exception to another player’s celebrations. The San Diego Padres.

The team everyone lauded for their utter defiance of the “Unwritten Rules” of baseball suddenly didn’t like it when another team overtly celebrated success right in their faces. Why? I thought celebrating was a good thing? The “Let The Kids Play” company tag line was “Don’t like it? Do better.” Shouldn’t that apply here? If the Padres don’t like Brusdar Graterol throwing his hat and glove after a spectacular Cody Bellinger catch, maybe they should have just hit off him more. Right, bro? RIGHT?!?!

No. That reasoning is stupid. It’s not about “Don’t like it? Do better.” It’s about what is an appropriate amount of celebrating and what isn’t. It’s about where you draw the line. The problem is, everyone draws it in a different place.

The Way Things Were

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It’s clear the average person’s acceptable level of celebration has shifted over the past few years. Madison Bumgarners are a dying breed, driven towards the brink of extinction by the Trevor Bauers and Tim Andersons of the world.

And why are they a dying breed? It’s not because of the “Don’t like it? Do better” mentality, which, as I said, is idiotic and impossible to uphold. It’s because there has a been a steady shift in what is generally considered an acceptable celebration and what isn’t.

Did you just hit an absolute tank? Did you just blow somebody away with a 101 MPH heater? Go off, king. You earned it. Celebrations used to be reserved for hugely significant moments in a season, or perhaps in that specific player’s career. Any deviation from that unwritten code warranted backlash in the form of bean balls, jarring, and/or the occasional fisticuffs. But not anymore.

The Way Things Are

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Today, the “Unwritten Rules” of MLB celebrations dictate it is okay to celebrate an impressive physical feat in most situations. In MOST situations. And yes, there are still unwritten rules.

It is NOT okay to throw your hat and glove off the mound at the end of an inning, like Brusdar Graterol did. Maybe that will be acceptable one day, but it’s not today, at least not to the San Diego Padres. Was it hypocritical of them to get so uptight about a celebration? Probably. But, once again, forget about the stupid “Don’t like it? Do better?” line of thinking. It’s about what a player/team thinks is acceptable. It’s ONLY about that.

There’s a range of feelings across the league when it comes to MLB celebrations, but the average approach to this concept has gotten much more liberal in recent years, which is good for the game.

The Way Things Will Be

There will always be “Unwritten Rules” that dictate the ethics of MLB celebrations. Sorry. Things will probably get looser in the years to come, but the concept of “Don’t like it? Do better.” will never actually be a thing.

There will still be arguments when a player crosses the line set in the mind of his opponent, like Brusdar Graterol did. That player probably won’t know where that line is, ’cause it’s different for everyone. But when that transgression happens, expect conflict; no one likes to be embarrassed.

For the love of all things holy, though, stop blindly throwing “Don’t like it? Do better” at these issues. That shit doesn’t work. All of the lemmings who repeats that phrase over and over also have their own definitions of what is acceptable, because EVERYONE does. And when that line is crossed, well, anger ensues. The same anger they are so quick to criticize.

I, for one, thought Graterol’s hat and glove toss was really stupid and it would piss me off too. But that’s me. Maybe you see it differently.

That’s how this stuff works.