Prince Fielder and his Brewers teammates, who celebrated Sunday's walk-off victory over the Giants with a little Jerome Robbins number, now stand accused of excessive immodesty by the Holy Church of Baseball People Who Need To Lighten The Hell Up.
Watch the video below. Everyone agrees it's funny. But then everyone hastens to add that such a thing is just not done in baseball. The Los Angeles Times asked Torii Hunter what he thought of the celebration. He rolled his eyes:
"I guess it's a different game," he said. "It's all TV, acting, until someone gets hit with a pitch in the chin. I'm old school. I could never do that."
"If I was a pitcher, I'd be [ticked] off," he said. "My mouth would be wide open. I'd be shocked. Baseball is not like the NFL, where you can celebrate in the end zone. You've got to keep your cool, play the game. You can't do that."
That being said, Hunter did give Fielder and the Brewers points for style.
"I did laugh. I did think it was funny. It was very creative," Hunter said. "But it's a little strong for baseball, because you could have a 90-mph fastball coming at you the next day. You've got to have toughness and heart to do that. It's not for me. If someone did that against us and we played them again, trust me, he'd get crushed, and we'd try to fight him."
And here's Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News:
Look, I'm not against players having fun on the field. It's a game and fans buy tickets to be entertained. Every time a college football player gets flagged for the tiniest bit of exuberance, I shake my head. Let the kid enjoy the moment a little bit, huh?
But if you have any knowledge or appreciation for the culture of baseball, you know Fielder's stunt was over the top. It was disrespectful. And if he's going to pull stuff like that, he's got absolutely no right to take umbrage the next time a pitcher gets revenge with a fastball to the ribs.
Oh, bother. Baseball has survived all manner of exuberant silliness over the years, from Rube Waddell through Jim Bouton and Dock Ellis and Rickey Henderson to Manny Ramirez today, at least on those blessed occasions when Manny decides to beam in from the Gamma Quadrant. They're all part of baseball's culture, too. And, now, so is the Brewers' silly little bit of choreography. No one's disrespecting anything, except the absurd notion that a baseball game should look like an Elks Lodge meeting.
Negative reaction pouring in to Prince Fielder's home run celebration [San Jose Mercury News]
Angels not impressed with Prince Fielder's walk-off celebration [Los Angeles Times]
Fielder's finish irked Giants [Rob Neyer]