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Friday, September 20, 2013
Dear baseball people: Lighten up

By David Schoenfield

"They clinched the division this year so if that's how they're going to act and be classless, that's their clubhouse." -- Diamondbacks infielder Willie Bloomquist, after some Dodgers celebrated their division title on Thursday by jumping in the swimming pool at Chase Field.

"He took exception to (Evan) Gattis' home run. You could tell that walking off the field. He happened to hit a home run and stood there. I just told him you can't do that. You're going to get someone hurt." -- Braves catcher Brian McCann, who scolded Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez after Fernandez crossed home plate after a home run last week.

"When he hits a home run sometimes it presents kind of like flamboyant, but I really believe that's just how he finishes and he can't help it." -- Rays manager Joe Maddon on rookie Wil Myers' controversial home run bat flips.

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It's a game, everyone. Entertainment. Yes, it's a business, and, yes, athletes are competitive and Willie Bloomquist probably didn't enjoy seeing the Dodgers celebrate on his home field ... but can't we all just relax a little bit here? So the Dodgers jumped in the pool? Good for them, I say. Live in the moment.

So a 21-year-old rookie pitcher admired his home run a little too long? What, you don't think Babe Ruth ever stood there and watched one? Can we please get out of this "That's the way they played the game in the 1950s" mind-set, this unwritten code on how to play the game. Guess what? Baseball in the 1950s was boring! Attendance was in a steady decline for most of the '50s and '60s. Maybe watching players hit home runs and circle the bases with their heads down didn't exactly keep fans coming to the park.

Wil Myers flips his bat. So does Yasiel Puig. Good for them for adding a little flair to the game. Who didn't love Rickey Henderson? Or despise him? Which is the point: You had a strong feeling towards him one or way another, couldn't take your eyes off him, wanted to go watch him play.

Give me more bat flips. Give me pitchers who point their finger at a batter after a strikeout. Give me one-flap down home run trots. Heck, give me Puig doing The Worm.

Just don't give me a pitcher who throws at a batter or his teammate simply because he gave up a home run. Or a guy on a losing team complaining about another team's celebration.