“Swag party: Baseball’s rise in on-field antics annoy some” reads the headline in an column by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale that takes issue with a wide-range of self-expression, be it Logan Morrison tweeting about his underwear (or lack thereof) or Indians closer Chris Perez channeling John Cena. Chosen to represent the game’s old guard, however, is Fox Sports’ Tim McCarver, who seems to have an issue with excessive celebrations…and excessive hustle.
Harper’s unbridled enthusiasm raises eyebrows. He’s already being compared to Pete Rose, which Fox broadcaster and former St. Louis Cardinals catcher Tim McCarver says is nonsense. He wonders when someone will talk to Harper about slowing down.
“When the ball is hit 15 feet foul, and he’s on second base,” McCarver says, “it’s time to talk. I understand youthful enthusiasm, but it’s unbridled enthusiasm.”
When Fielder hit a walk-off homer against the San Francisco Giants on Sept. 6, 2009, the Brewers collapsed like bowling pins when Fielder stomped on home plate. The Giants remembered. Barry Zito hit him with a pitch in the first inning of their spring training game the following season.
“If it were (Bob) Gibson on the mound, I promise you that would never have happened,” McCarver says. “That payback isn’t something you want to even think about.”
While the celebration provoked anger and resentment among the “old-school,” the “new-school” loved it, convinced it generates enthusiasm for fans and particularly kids.
Scoffed McCarver: “I don’t buy that. [Joe] DiMaggio wasn’t flashy, but he got a lot of kids interested in baseball. Ted Williams hit, wasn’t flashy, and got a lot of kids interested in baseball. So did [Mickey] Mantle. They were the antithesis of flashy.”