When is kiss is not just a kiss

As posted on The Dugout Doctors…

By now you’ve seen the video by now of 18 year old uber-prospect Bryce Harper watching a deep home run, rounding the bases, and blowing a kiss towards the pitcher as he rounds third base. If you haven’t seen the video, here you go.

You say he’s arrogant and that he doesn’t “get it.” You argue that he’s immature and needs to embrace his status as the future of the Washington Nationals and therefore learn to lead by example.

Harper is displaying an arrogance unseen since the days of Rickey Henderson, and perhaps it’s exactly what baseball needs to be exciting again. You can rip a guy like Barry Bonds all you’d like, but don’t pretend for a second that you’ve never mimicked him (or Ken Griffey Jr., or David Ortiz or whoever is your favorite slugger) by admiring a home run in your back yard.

The cockiness is certainly more exciting that than the alternative: the play-it-safe, “my-performance-only-matters-if-the-team-wins” façade put on by most superstar athletes these days.

Screw that. Flip the bat, watch your home run, and walk halfway to first base.

Forgive me for not understanding the general outrage over the incident. When did baseball become a game for stuffy old men and statistical geeks? It’s no wonder nobody cares about baseball anymore. It’s boring. It’s slow. You’re apparently not allowed to have fun. Know when people did care? When Barry Bonds was mashing 500 foot home runs in to the San Francisco Bay remaining in the batter’s box until he saw the ball splash.

And what’s with the double standard among sports? We laugh at touchdown celebrations and criticize the NFL for often being too strict about them. We cheer the NASCAR driver as he spins doughnuts on a track’s infield after winning a race. Yet we scream “unprofessional” when Jonathan Papelbon screams after closing a game or when Giants closer Brian Wilson does his whatever-you-call-it with his arms at the end of each game.

But when Bryce Harper, an 18 year old kid, has a little fun of his own, the world stops spinning. Lighten up.

7 Responses

  1. Oh my god, I don’t know where to begin. … This is a joke, right?

  2. If nothing else, it certainly made for a topic of discussion on sports-talk radio. I even heard people talking about it on the train.

  3. My first thought was “douche” when I saw that, but you do have a really good point about the football touchdown celebration thing. The Icky Shuffle was a craze for a reason. Although to be honest, I always appreciated guys like Barry Sanders who just flipped the ball to the ref and ran back to his own sideline, maybe because I’m a no-flash, Penn State fan…

    I think Mike Schmidt had the best opinion when he advised Harper to hit his home runs and act like he expects to hit hundreds more.

    I’m fine with a bat flip and I’m fine with a slow trot, even a little fist pump. But to me, there’s really no reason to taunt another player.

    I save that for when I’m playing Wii with my wife…

    • If a dad can’t taunt his 18 month old son after DOMINATING him in NBA Jam, when CAN he taunt him? It’s not my fault he doesn’t play defense… or pass the ball in bounds within 10 seconds… or even hold the controller correctly…

      • Haha! As a soon-to-be dad, I am definitely tucking that philosophy away for a few months. That lil’ guy better not think of being his weak ass stuff up in here…

  4. Ha! Soon-to-be, eh? Congrats! It definitely brings a whole new perspective to collecting, and to sports in general.

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