There is a war currently being waged in baseball. Old School vs. New School. To flip a bat vs to not flip a bat. Celebration vs. Showing up your opponent. Bryce Harper kicked things off with his words a few weeks ago. Senile old man Goose Gossage has his say in the get off my lawn we aren’t here to have fun department. Lines have been drawn and it’s the second most hotly debated topic of spring training. (You don’t really need me to tell you what is number 1 do I?) So of course, it was only a matter of time before professional loudmouth David Ortiz weighed in.
“People want to talk about old school. I am old school,” said Ortiz. “How many [expletives] are in the game right now who played in 1997 in the big leagues?”
The answer is three. David Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez, Bartolo Colon.
“Whenever somebody criticizes a power hitter for what we do after we hit a home run, I consider that person someone who is not able to hit a homer ever in his life,” Ortiz told the Globe. “Look at who criticizes the power hitters in the game and what we do. It’s either a pitcher or somebody that never played the game. Think about it. You don’t know that feeling. You don’t know what it takes to hit a homer off a guy who throws 95 miles per hour. You don’t know anything about it. And if you don’t know anything about it, [shut up]. [Shut up]. Seriously. If you don’t know anything about it, [shut up], because that is another level.”
Sigh. We’ve gone down this path before. You are only allowed to have an opinion if you have performed the task. Sure being a professional ball player offers you a unique viewpoint, but that does not make my opinion any less valid. Or yours. Or anyone elses.
“Of course as a pitcher you’re not going to like it if I take you deep, but after I do it, suck it up, man. Take it like a man. I don’t mind anybody doing anything when you strike me out or get myself out. You’re never going to see me criticizing anybody, because you know what? Whatever you do out there, you just motivate me. You just motivate me. If I take you deep and I pimp the [expletive] out of it, that should be motivation for you to try to get me out in my next at-bat, instead of just talking [expletive]. That’s the way I see it,” he said.
Hey, I’m all fine with that. But maybe you should practice what you preach. Stop crying everytime you get a called strike. Stop destroying bullpen phones. Stop throwing official score keepers under the bus and throwing a hissy fit over an error. How is that taking it like a man? You don’t mind anyone doing anything when they strike you out? History has proven otherwise.
“When a power hitter does a bat flip, you don’t hurt nobody. If I hit a homer, did a bat flip, threw it in the stands and break a couple of people’s heads, I understand. But that’s not what it is,” he added. “When you see a pitcher do a fist pump when they strike out any one of us, or jumping on the mound, I don’t see anybody talking about that. Nobody’s talking about that. Act the same way when we do a bat flip. It’s emotion. It is, ‘I got you.’ Just like a pitcher does, ‘I got you,’ when they strike [you] out. As a hitter, I don’t mind. You got myself out? Good for you. They work hard to do that [expletive]. But when I get you, good for me. Period.”
Look, I agree with Ortiz in principle. I’m just not entirely sure the first one to start a fight and yell at a player should be the poster child for showing emotion. Ortiz also had some interesting things to say about the speed (or lack thereof) of him rounding the bases after a home-run.
“People sometimes don’t realize a guy like me, how much velocity we create on the swing. I have hit balls sometimes that it takes me a minute to pull myself together after I swing because I swing hard,” said Ortiz. “First of all, my bat is 34½ (inches), 32½ (ounces). And once that bat gets through the strike zone, the momentum that you’ve got going, I don’t think anyone can swing it and run at the same time. You will break yourself in half. You’d get your legs going one direction and your upper body going another. . . . People want you to fly around the bases when you hit a 500-foot home run. Uh-uh. A 500-foot homer, why should I? Why should I? Seriously, like it’s an inside-the-park homer?”