Friday, May 09, 2008

Spur-of-the-Moment Emotion, or Showboating?

The New York papers were all agog today about the fact that Cleveland Indians' outfielder David Dellucci was miffed by the show that Joba Chamberlain put on after he struck him out in the eighth inning of yesterday's Yankees-Indians game. The papers, as well as the "Mike and Mad Dog Show" were all over it. Fatso and Fruit Loops are kind of divided over it, with Russo taking Chamberlain to task over it.

If you didn't see it, Chamberlain has been known to get all worked up if he strikes out the last hitter of an inning that he works, and he did it again on Thursday, with his fist pumps and yelling. After the game, Dellucci let it be known that he didn't appreciate the antics, and called them "bush league." Dellucci, who hit a game-winning homer off Chamberlain the previous game, also questioned why pitchers seem to get away with that sort of thing, while hitters are called unprofessional and show pitchers up by showing similar acts of emotion. (Dellucci also mentioned he didn't show the Yankees up when he hit his home run.) Chamberlain was unapologetic, and says it was just something he does when he gets all worked up.

Chamberlain isn't the only pitcher who does that, and Francisco Rodriguez and Jonathan Papelbon have been known to show a lot of emotion after an inning-ending strikeout. My personal opinion on this is that if a pitcher strikes out a hitter in a tough situation to end an inning (say with the bases loaded and holding a one-run lead), a show of emotion is not a bad thing. It is most times just an impromptu thing, and most aren't trying to show the other team up.

But if pitchers are going to make this a regular thing, or part of their routine or "shtick," then I have a problem with it. That would be something where the pitcher was just trying to be a showboat or trying to bring attention to himself: "Hey, look what I just did!" Well, isn't that what you get paid to do? Chamberlain, like Pap and K-Rod, has been known to do this sort of thing too often, and that's where I think it is crossing the line. (And don't forget that Pap and K-Rod do their thing after a win, while Chamberlain only does it after the 8th inning, and I believe the game is still going on.)

And way too often, baseball has become too much "Hey, check me out," especially when it comes to those guys who stand and watch balls go out of the park. It's a two-way street in baseball, and pitchers too can show up the other team just like some hitters do.

For me, it's not a good trend in baseball, and it can lead to some hard feelings, especially among players like Dellucci who consider themselves "old school."

But it will be interesting to see what happens the next time Chamberlain faces Dellucci, as all of a sudden they have a history against each other.

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