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Joyous Baseball Is Great Baseball

Mark J. Terrill/AP Photo

Game 2 was delirious. It made me feel drunk and insane, even though I was barely either. In the 7-6, 11-inning Astros win to tie the series, enough weird shit happened for an entire postseason. Where do you start?


Well, maybe start with the things that stick out strongest the morning after, the things you’re likely to remember for a while. And I woke up still struck by the sheer and copious theatricality of the players, their physical responses to an emotional tempest. How demonstrative they all were! From Jose Altuve’s and the Astros’ exploding “boom” celebrations to Yasiel Puig’s gyrations, there was never the slightest doubt what anyone out there was feeling. And that’s wonderful; this is baseball, it should be exuberant and intense and stressful and I like nothing better than to see players living those.

The final and maybe the most notable histrionic came from L.A.’s Charlie Culberson, who in the bottom of the 11th hit the game’s eighth home run, a solo shot that closed the gap to one run. He spread his arms as he ran. He raised one finger and pointed. He sprinted back to the dugout and furiously high-fived teammates.

The rub, obviously, is that the Dodgers were still down a run, still one out from losing. Functionally, Culberson’s home run was almost exactly as useful to L.A. as a single would have been. I genuinely wondered if he had lost track of the score and thought he had tied the game.


The Astros noticed:


Back off, buddy! Let the man celebrate. In a game that was so fun in large part because of how demonstrative the players were, no one should ever be shamed or criticized for exuberance.

Culberson insisted later he was simply caught up in the moment, and knew that he didn’t tie the game, but couldn’t control his emotions.

“That’s adrenaline,” Culberson said. “That’s a good feeling. I never would have imagined hitting a home run in the World Series, and I did that.

“I pointed to my parents in the stands and pointing to my wife. I was just having fun out there, nothing more than that.”


Read that again. He couldn’t restrain himself because he hit a home run in the freaking World Series. That’s something all of us dreamed about as kids. That’s something every player on that field dreamed about. Culberson lived his childhood dream! As he put it, “I did that.” I think that’s awesome.

These teams are entertaining as hell to watch, and if baseball is lucky, it will in its near future look a lot more like Jose Altuve and Yasiel Puig and Charlie Culberson losing his damn mind. Have fun out there and don’t be afraid to show it.

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