When I would drive my six-year-old son to baseball practice or games last spring, the last thing I'd tell him before I dropped him off was this: "The most important thing is to have fun."
Yes, we'll get into winning and all that later. For now, he's six. It's all about the fun.
And boy, it's a good thing he's not playing with Brian McCann or hordes of other fun police roaming our country when it comes to America's pastime.
In the bigs, winning is more important than having fun. I'll give that. But, boy, it's simply astounding how many adults -- players, media, fans, etc. -- get enraged when a guy shows emotion. Take the Yasiel Puig moment from Monday night:
Our Twitter feed was lit up with people calling him names and saying he should be beaned next time up. Why? Because he was excited. He didn't yell in any Cardinals' face. He didn't taunt them. He was facing his dugout, celebrating with his teammates -- as best one can in baseball. I mean, how dare he have fun and be excited after a big hit, right?
This isn't by any means an isolated incident. Players constantly act like petulant children over perceived injustices in decorum by opposition.
Remember the Jose Fernandez incident?
Chris Johnson -- an adult -- was so angry that Fernandez dared to be excited about a home run that he had to charge home plate after Brian McCann had to start yelling in Fernandez's face about daring to have fun.
What about the Carlos Gomez incident?
Embarrassment abound here. Gomez was so upset that Paul Maholm had accidentally hit him with a pitch earlier in the season that he made an utter fool of himself. If you can't take getting hit with a pitch, maybe just retire. The problem, though is he was far from alone in making a fool of himself.
Freddie Freeman couldn't just let Gomez make a fool of himself on his own. He had to join the party because his feelings were hurt -- and make no mistake about it, that only increased Gomez's idiocy. And then Brian McCann was so angry that he blocked Gomez from scoring, making of fool of himself.
Now here is about the time that the macho men pound their chests about how Gomez deserved it. Well, I disagree. I don't think it's manly to get your panties in a bunch (see what I did there?) about how an opposing player acts. It's a lot more mentally tough to ignore it and get back at him by beating him. Maybe even laugh at the one acting afool. The cry-babies are the ones who freak out and start huffing and puffing.
Let us also mention the selfish nature of the actions. Freeman got tossed from that game. The Braves lost. The Braves -- owners of a great home record and poor road record -- missed out on the top seed by one game and had to face the Dodgers instead of the Pirates. But that's beside the point. Back to the supposed macho men who can't take opposing happiness.
These guys are professional athletes. Adults. If they don't want opposing players to celebrate, they have a means to prevent it: Beat them. Don't like a guy watching a home run? Make a better pitch. Don't like a pitcher screaming after a strikeout? Put the ball in play. If that doesn't happen, the players have no one to blame but themselves.
Often, the whiners also house an element of hypocrisy. For example, a few Braves players definitely watch long home runs from the box, but yet they get angry when someone else does it. Also, Adrian Gonzalez did this Monday night:
Adam Wainwright called some of Gonzalez's actions (though one report noted Wainwright was talking about Gonzalez running his mouth) "Mickey Mouse." Which is interesting, because here's Wainwright last week:
Looks pretty similar to me. Again, if Wainwright really wasn't upset about the particular gesture, this isn't a good example overall, but the fact remains that players all-too-often get angry about the opposition doing something they themselves do.
The message is: It's OK for me to do it, but not you. Then it upsets me.
I'm supposed to believe this is the manly/macho/tough guy point of view, according to the chest-pounding macho men. The funny thing is, it's actually the complete opposite -- that's the mindset of a mentally weak child.
Sorry, these supposed tough guys are actually just cry-babies. Baseball is supposed to be fun. The ones having fun are the ones doing it right. Give me 100 Yasiel Puigs, please. The ones complaining about his unbridled enthusiasm are tight-collared curmudgeons. I have no time for the latter.