If I’m Greinke, my 1st pitch tomorrow is landing squarely in the back of the Reds’ leadoff batter. Chapman’s #clownshoes = unacceptable. -r
— Productive Outs (@ProductiveOuts) June 27, 2012
Major League Baseball is famous for their etherial Unwritten Rules, which supposedly exist to retain the integrity of the game.
A team should not steal a base when up by five runs in the ninth inning. Don’t attempt to break up a no-hitter late in the game with a bunt. Do not show up the opposing team with unnecessary celebration, or you’ll get a pitch in the back the next time.
That final rule relates to the tweet featured above. Cincinnati Reds’ closer Aroldis Chapman struck out pinch-hitter Martin Maldonado to secure the one-run victory. With a huge smile on his face, Chapman proceeded to engage in back-to-back somersaults in celebration. In case you missed it:
The outcry on Twitter was instantaneous. The Brewers needed to retaliate on Wednesday because Chapman “showed them up” with his celebration. Articles immediately hit the blogosphere, stoking the fire and attempting to craft a narrative that would stretch into the next game between the two NL Central rivals.
Of course, the Milwaukee Brewers never mentioned anything about the celebrations. Some of the Reds’ veteran players reportedly pulled Chapman to the side and had a long chat about professionalism at the big league level, but the Milwaukee Brewers remained quiet.
As they should. And in no way should the Brewers retaliate or react on Wednesday.
Milwaukee gained a reputation for their unsavory celebrations. Whether it be untucking the jersey following a victory, the Prince Fielder bowling ball celebration in San Francisco, or Beast Mode on the basepaths, the Brewers have engaged in their fair share of celebrations on the baseball field. None were meant to disrespect the opponent. The celebrations served as a galvanizing force for the squad — a way to build camaraderie and a close-knit clubhouse.
Similarly, Chapman was not attempting to disrespect the Brewers. He was coming off back-to-back blown saves for the first time in his career. Some writers and fans in Cincinnati began to doubt whether or not he possessed the “closer’s mentality” and could succeed in the position — which is insane because he did not allow a single run on the season until June 7. The double somersault celebration was an outpouring of emotion based on his personal situation. He was pleased to have gotten the monkey off his back and returned to his scoreless ways. He was not directing the celebration at Milwaukee whatsoever.
The Brewers are no stranger to on-the-field celebrations that have raised the collective brow of the baseball community. It would be exceedingly hypocritical for the organization to have defended their celebrations over the past three or four seasons and immediately condemn an opponent’s celebration. That’s why it was encouraging to see the Brewers remain quiet, while the baseball blogosphere and Twitter immediately complained, and that’s why Zack Greinke should do absolutely nothing but throw a strike with his first pitch on Wednesday afternoon.