David Ortiz is 40-years old and is enjoying his victory lap in his final season with the Red Sox. But even though his career is winding down, that doesn’t mean he’s happy with where the game is from a social standpoint.
At the start of the season, the Nationals’ Bryce Harper made a huge statement by wearing a “Make Baseball Fun Again hat.” His is that there are so many unwritten rules in baseball that restrict a player from celebrating or showing any sort individuality like you commonly see in basketball and football. Frankly, those types of displays are what draw the younger generation in. And Ortiz agrees with Harper.
“I think Harper was right about what he said, absolutely,” the Boston Red Sox designated hitter said. “Quite frankly, I think baseball wants to be too serious about what we do. Whenever we have any reaction within the game, people want to make it about, ‘Oh, he’s a showboat,’ you know? People need to realize that this is a game. OK, we get paid a lot of money. But it’s a game. You have to have fun.
“There are a lot of crying babies in baseball. There’s all the complaining and bitching about things. When you strike me out and pump your fist, I don’t care. That motivates me to go out and hit a homer the next at-bat. I don’t really mind. But whenever you hit a homer, and you do what you do, everyone starts complaining. For me, the reality is, I don’t pay attention to any of that crap.
“I’m a winner. I’m a winner. And, listen, I just enjoy beating the opposition. Whatever you say is up you you, but I’m not trying to disrespect anyone. I’m just trying to go about my business, and do what I’ve got to do. There are a lot of fans that pay a lot of money to come watch us put on a show, so they go home happy.”
Both Harper and Ortiz make valid points. But baseball is way too stuck in its ways to undergo such a huge cultural shift. Celebrating will forever earn you a fastball near your chin.