Can We Cool It with the Walk-Off Celebrations?
(Left) The Philadelphia Phillies pile on Jimmy Rollins after he singles in the winning run Wednesday. (Right) The San Francisco Giants pile on Brandon Crawford after he singles in the winning run Tuesday.
Major League ballplayers sure do like to jump all over each other. And we get it: there’s nothing quite like a walk-off hit to win a baseball game in extra innings.
That is, except for all the other walk-off hits to win a baseball game in extra innings…
There were 205 last season—roughly 10% of all games played—and that number will likely be dwarfed this year. The Phillies alone have won their last three games in walk-off fashion. Two nights ago, it was the Giants. There are three games being played this afternoon as we write this, all of which seem to be careening toward late-inning dramatics. And with every walk-off comes the compulsory walk-off celebration—a melee of uniformed grown men pummeling each other in what appears to be a botched human pyramid attempt.
To them, we’d respectfully suggest: act like you’ve been there…
If it seems like we’re being killjoys, just ask Kendrys Morales and the Los Angeles Angels how they feel about the practice. Morales broke his leg and went on the DL for nearly two seasons after celebrating a walk-off grand slam at home plate in 2010. And yet, miraculously, night after night, an almost identical spectacle occurs.
The fact is, these guys are paid to get hits and score runs. That’s exactly their job. When they do their job well in the postseason and blast a 12th-inning home run to send their team to the World Series, okay—we’ll even join the pile on. But a squibber-single through the gap to bring home the winning run in a midseason game on a Tuesday? That feels worthy of a hearty slap on the ass, a commendation of a job well done and time to hit the showers.
Don’t say we didn’t warn you…
- — C. Brian Smith