Today in baseball, there’s a lot of talk about “unwritten rules” and such things like that. Whether or not it’s right it to flip the bat or hit a player,etc. Well, I can’t say anything about unwritten rules but one word that isn’t thrown around enough is “respect”. Players used to have respect for one another and the sport got along just fine without showboating or egos running the game. Baseball is a beautiful thing, because the collective community can rip a player down from grace or elevate them to the top of the world, but eventually every player will take a seat and someone new will take their place. So many egotistical stars are setting a bad precedent for the game and for the sport’s future players.
David Ortiz has made a career out of making himself bigger than the game and disrespecting everyone from Chris Archer to the ghost of Ted Williams. Even Babe Ruth, the greatest player this game has ever seen, wasn’t bigger than the game of baseball. That’s right! The minute he stopped producing is the minute the sport turned on him. Someone should let “Big Papi” know that no, I don’t “know Papi” because baseball isn’t about him. I think someone needs to open Ortiz’s eyes and let him know his antics are causing the baseball community’s patience to wear thin. Oh and please don’t even get me started on Wil Myers! He hit his first big league home runs last year and what does he do? He flips the bat and stars down his home run. He hit it against C.C. Sabathia, and I hate to tell Wil but C.C. has been around a little longer and his career should garner a little respect. Yasiel Puig is fun to watch, but I’d be surprised if the guy isn’t already writing his Hall of Fame speech. Bryce Harper… all I can say about that guy is if he stayed on the field long enough, maybe he’d realize that his theatrics need to be backed up by numbers.
With a crop of young players in baseball that grew up idolizing Derek Jeter, there aren’t many of them that could ever live up to him as a player or as an individual. From day one of his big league career, Jeter respected both the game and everyone in it. That’s the way it should be. If you’re not too savvy on baseball history, Google the old St. Louis Cardinals’ pitcher Bob Gibson. Gibson hit opposing players for the hell of it. If you were lucky, he’d hit you in the fat, but if you made him mad, you’d take a nice little nap after that ball hit you up in the noggin. Sorry Papi, Myers and Harper, but pull some of that fun bat flipping stuff against the Gibson and the next at bat won’t last too long, but your stay in the hospital might last a few days.
Stan Musial was one of the best players of all-time. How did he play the game? He played the game and knew that everyone around him deserved to be there too. I get all this stuff about it’d being a different era and all that, but maybe today’s younger stars should focus less on making web gems or getting their own hashtag or seeing themselves on SportsCenter, and more on playing the game. Sure, I’m a Yankees fan, but baseball as a whole, is what I love and seeing guys act like they’re the second coming of The Bambino makes me sour on the sport to some extent. The idea that “We need to make the sport more sexy with young conceded guys with attitude in order to succeed” makes no sense! Baseball is over one hundred years old, and now we’re just going to change the formula? No! Why is that a logical idea?
On a related note, baseball needs to stop comparing Mike Trout to Mickey Mantle. Listen, I’m a Trout fan, but Mantle is a top 10 player all-time, and just three years in to his career Mike Trout obviously is not. Respect isn’t just needed in the current game, but respect needs to given to those who came before. Mike Trout isn’t Mantle, Harper isn’t Ted Williams, Puig isn’t Roberto Clemente (I don’t care how strong his arm is) and Ortiz isn’t Hank Aaron. Let’s be real. With the exception of Trout (Who has been a standup guy since his rookie season), all of those guys don’t respect baseball. They care about their image and how they look. Frankly, I’m fed up with it.
Who is David Ortiz? David Ortiz is a guy who accomplished nothing in baseball before becoming an everyday designated hitter. Ortiz is a guy who, despite so much incriminating evidence, has insulted our intelligence by denying steroid use throughout his career, while the sport somehow gives him a free pass. David Ortiz is a guy who has consistently pumped up his own career, while he spat on the careers off others with his constant antics. Sorry if I don’t “know Papi” (Still don’t know what that means!) but I know enough to be saddened by the example he sets for the sport. Yeah, Ortiz, we know you can go yard, but you just hit some old lady in the head when you threw that bat into the upper deck. Chris Archer hit the nail on the head when he said “I never saw Hank Aaron flip bats”. You’d never see Aaron flips bats because Aaron had class.
When Derek Jeter walks off the field for the last time in 2014, I’m afraid he’ll put an end to the age when players knew their place in the game. The Yankees are in the middle of a pretty bad season, but I’d rather see my Bombers miss the playoffs than see them make it with some young punks who have a lot to learn about baseball. The sport is in a lot of trouble when we embrace the antics of flashy and disrespectful players, instead of embrace the players that play the game right.