Saw a dumb take on Twitter and since I didn’t have any better ideas I felt like this is as good a time as any to do some easy dunks.

This much salt could cause a slug genocide. Also, love the irony of an Astros fan complaining about following unwritten rules when the Astros can’t follow the written ones.

I don’t watch a lot of Baseball anymore but every time I think about starting again I see arguments like this one and I remember why I bailed. Well, besides the fact that Baseball is boring and slow and one of the most exciting teams of the past decade ended up being a bunch of cheaters oh wow look at that I ended up bringing up the Astros again. Anyway, fuck this dumb attitude towards fun. Dingers are cool, celebrations and showboating are fine. Good, even!

The NFL waged a war on fun for a long time. It got worse and worse to the point they were flagging even the mildest of celebrations and everything snapped. The old huffy attitude that ruled the fanbase finally got ignored in favor of the younger demographics who actually like emotion and fun. Now teams and players celebrate all the time and the angry old codgers just grumble silently to themselves. We won that one. I don’t know if we’ll win the Baseball fight. Baseball has been around a lot longer and is more steeped in tradition. The stupid “unwritten rules” that define so many aspects of the sport aren’t going to come free without a lot of pushback. This is honestly a shame because if they did, Baseball could become interesting and fun again. No major sport needs to evolve more than “America’s Game”. Just like America Baseball is stuck in the past.

It can start improving by not get mad about bat flips. Fucking bat flips. Have you ever seen a bat flip? So for context with the angry Houston Astros fan above is this play:

Fernando Tatis, one of the best current players and a genuine joy to watch, smashed a 3-run homer in the 9th to tie the game, which the Padres would then go on to win. To celebrate his monster dinger to the upper deck, he stood still and admired it for a second, flipped a bat, and did a little dance at third base. That’s it? That’s the kind of showboating that turns people off? A bat flip is less showboat-y than spiking a football. You take the big whack stick and toss it to the side with some style. That’s it? When I first heard of bat flips causing people to be mad, I was expecting them to be these big grand gestures that fling the bat at other players and cause harm. Nope! It’s just a gentle toss with style. This is not worth getting mad at whatsoever. Bat flips are practically innocent. Bat flips rule. Everyone should flip bats when they sock a dinger. Flip more bats. If you got mad because a guy flipped a bat to the point where you want that player to be purposefully injured with a fastball something is wrong with you.

Which kind of comes back to those unwritten rules. Something is very very wrong with a sport that hates expressions of joy and accepts retaliatory strikes in the manor of a pitch hit. One harms nothing but the pride of an opponent. The other causes actual physical damage…because the pitcher is mad at the guy at the plate achieving something and being happy about it. Unwritten rules are unwritten rules because actually putting them in writing exposed how fucking bonkers they are. You might say “well if you don’t showboat you won’t get hit” but to that, I say this: If you don’t want to have a guy showboat…don’t give them a reason to celebrate. Strike them out. Catch the fly ball. Don’t throw a petty tantrum because you failed, they celebrated, and you are a pissy ego boy. You can’t get styled on if you don’t let them style on you. Can’t be disrespected if you don’t give them a chance to disrespect you.

Which kind of comes down to the real root of it: petty salt. While plenty of these idiotic pearl-clutching opinions exist in their dumbest, truest form, you mostly see it used as a pathetically transparent defense mechanism by a fan of a team that just got owned. In the take I used above, the guy is an Astros fan. The team that just happened to be on the receiving end of Tatis’ heroic game-tying dinger and who eventually lost. Instead of just admitting he’s fucking mad the team lost a good chance to win the game, he’s coating his salt in the “sanctity” of the sport with this bullshit “well this is just disrespectful behavior” nonsense to cover it up. Instead of being sad that his team blew it, he’s decided to pretend the honor of the sport was damaged because the guy did a cool little dance on third. Fuck that. Admit you’re pissed the team lost and shut the fuck up. Really, is there a more understandable time to celebrate than hitting a game-changing home run with 2 outs in the 9th? I’d have been moonwalking the bases if I pulled off the kind of clutch hit Tatis had. I don’t think there was a more fitting moment to flip that bat.

When it comes to showboating, I understand why people on the losing team get so angry and use the defense they do. It hurts. It hurts to see someone beat you, and be happy about it. It stings. The line between a taunt and a celebration can be exceptionally blurry and nobody feels good when they’ve been kicked in the gut. But that’s how it works. You take the L and you get ’em next time. Not with unsportsmanlike bullshit like purposeful injury, but kicking their ass at the game. Fairly. Something the Astros are admittedly bad at doing but you know.

By the way, taunting is cool and good, and as long as no physical attacks are part of the taunt then let it happen. Let batters flip bats. Let pitchers fist pump and wave goodbye to batters they struck out. Let catchers twerk. Most players probably still won’t do much, which is what I think these idiots fear will happen if this is “allowed”. No. There will always be the Calvin Johnsons and Tim Duncans to balance out the Terrell Owens…es and Russell Westbrooks. The Mike Trouts to the Fernando Tatises. As long as the displays aren’t vulgar or obscene or cause physical harm or delay the game, let it happen. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Professional sports are highly charged competitive challenges, let the players blow off that tension in the moment when they’ve earned it.

Although I will say there is one point where I agree you shouldn’t showboat. When you are losing hopelessly with no chance of victory, you probably shouldn’t celebrate too much. Then it’s just cringe.