Monday, June 15, 2009

Weighing in on the K-Rod - Bruney Flap

The Mets played the Yankees in what has become the new interleague marquis matchup. The series the past few years has been interesting. The Mets and the Yankees have both been in contention and the series has featured controversy in the past with the Clemens/Piazza thing. Now a new flap has occurred thanks to comments by Brian Bruney concerning Francisco Rodriguez or K-Rod as he is known to fans. Bruney called K-Rod's celebrations at the end of a save a "tired act."

There are several facets to this story. The first to be dealt with is K-Rod's celebrations. After each save, he thrusts his arms to the sky, he lets out a roar and he stomps around a bit. He is not the only pitcher to celebrate after a win or a save. Joba Chamberlain, Bruney's own teammate has been called out by other players for the same reasons that Bruney has called out K-Rod. Recently, in a game with the Orioles, Aubrey Huff hit a home off of Chamberlain and did a parody of Chamberlain's antics as he circled the bases. This Fan feels the same about Bruney's comments as he did about Huff's antics: They are inappropriate.

There is nothing wrong with celebrating success. When a team has a walkoff hit, it has become customary to have a big party at home plate. Isn't that a celebration? When Torii Hunter makes another homer-saving catch over the wall, doesn't he celebrate? So why then is it so wrong for a pitcher to celebrate when he is successful? Why do all those other celebrations appear to be okay, but when a pitcher celebrates, it's a slap at the opposing batter?

Let's focus on other sports for a second. When Tiger Woods does something miraculous to win, like he has done so many other times, does his celebrations slap other players? When Federer throws his tennis racket and gets down on his knees in delight, does that slap the guy he just beat? When a football player is excited about scoring a touchdown, does that show up the other team?

Some people would say yes to all of the questions in the preceding paragraph. But all that "proper way to play the game" crap is just that. Crap. To be sure, when Barry Sanders used to simply hand the ball to the referee after a touchdown, that was a class act. But to this Fan and casual observer, enthusiasm for succeeding is never a bad thing. It's fun and exciting and most of the time, it seems spontaneous and real. K-Rod's antics never seemed scripted. They seemed like genuine expressions of joy at succeeding at something he obviously cares a lot about doing.

Another facet of this story is Bruney calling out K-Rod in the media. If he was to do this correctly, he would have said what he said to K-Rod's face and not to the press. That would have been the classy thing to do. Instead, he took the Papelbon school of class and ended up being totally without class. The proper way for Bruney to handle his feelings about K-Rod's antics would have been to lodge a complaint with his team captain, Jeter, who would then relay those concerns to a Met's captain or team leader.

The bottom line here is that Brian Bruney was wrong in what he did on several levels. First, his belief that K-Rod was showing other teams up by celebrating saves is misguided and overly sensitive. The guy beat you. Let him celebrate and then you go out and try to beat him next time. Secondly, Bruney took the coward's way out by expressing his comments to the press when he could have handled his feelings personally or through his team captain.

Joba and K-Rod should celebrate when they do well. If that's what they feel, that's what they should do. It's not a tired act. It's an act of celebration. And that is what everyone should do when they succeed at something that they worked hard to achieve.


Josh Borenstein said...

Plus, who is Brian Bruney to criticize one of the greatest closers of all time? Bruney hasn't done jack compared to K-Rod.

Anonymous said...

You hit the nail on the head Will! Does Bruney understand the concept of a poor sport? Maybe we need to call in the principal to hand out some time-outs. Jeeze