On September 6th, 2009, Prince Fielder hit a walk-off home run against the San Fransisco Giants (video), flies like an airplane around the bases, untucks his jersey, and when he stomps two-footed on home plate, his teammates all fall down in either a bowling pin and/or bomb-type celebration. Yesterday was the first time Fielder faced the Giants since the incident and he took the first pitch he saw from Barry Zito in the ribs – the way it should be. Fielder didn’t take exception, he took his base and said afterword that he hopes they can move on and play baseball – again, the way it should be. Some people, like Mike Golic on Mike & Mike in the Morning, see no reason for this type of retaliation, which is an argument that I don’t think you need to be a baseball lifer to find completely ridiculous.
Mike Golic’s argument from Mike and Mike in the morning was that he didn’t believe Prince Fielder was taunting or showing up the Giants. He also doesn’t have a problem with the celebrations in the NFL after touchdowns. There is a fundamental difference between the two sports, however, which lies in the fact that if you celebrate in football, you have to strap it on and line it up against eleven angry men or go across the middle against a safety who might have taken exception to your last end zone dance. The sport is policed without the common fan being able to see or witness who has a bounty on their head. There is a lot of talk and dirty deeds done in the trenches that happens outside of the sight of the cameras. In baseball, the game is open and obvious when someone is going to get ribbed and everyone can read the lips of the trash talkers. The video above speaks for itself – competitors will always take exception when you celebrate in their face, regardless of the sport. The unwritten rule is simple – let the final score speak for itself, but adding insult to injury will just result in more injury.
If either of these videos don’t fire you up, then you aren’t a competitor. And if football players don’t care when Chad Ochocinco or Terrell Owens grabs the pom-poms from the cheerleaders and dances in their end zone, then there is something wrong with football, not baseball.