Emotion in baseball is a good thing. The Jose Bautista “bat flip heard round the world” is a fond memory not a black eye on the sport. Joe Carter jumping around the bases, and nearly missing first base in the process, after hitting a walk-off homer to win the 1993 World Series is one of my favourite memories as a teenager. Enter Willians Astudillo.

The unwritten rules about baseball, which seemingly are all about keeping the fun out of the game, were all broken during this home run and its impending extended trot. All sorts of leniency is afforded the unwritten rules about over-celebrating a homer if it is a walk-off. As important as a homer as this was, when you literally sit and watch the ball  leave the park and then act like Joe Carter circa 1993 celebrating with everyone outside the dugout inside of doing the lineup inside the dugout, you should expect a fastball to the ass the next game. Let’s be clear, the plunking is not because he beat them fair and square, it’s because his celebration went far past your typical “woohoo” to asshat levels.

Baseball as a sport is doing everything possible to maintain a high level of safety for its players. Examples being the “Buster Posey rule” to help prevent collisions at home plate and the “Chase Utley rule” to prevent takeout slides on the basepaths.

The oldest tradition among baseball players policing themselves is the batter getting hit with a pitch after what the opposing team feels was him previously showing them up. This is not a form of assault, charging the mound and starting a fight is a form of assault. Umpires warn benches when they feel the “policing” is getting out of hand and have the right to eject players who they feel are instigating trouble far beyond the one pitch designated for the batter’s derriere. I 100% condone the actions in the above tweet.

What I 100% disagree with is the actions in the tweet below:

A brushback pitch to the head is dangerous. Yes I know with guys like Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs who lords over the plate, any pitch inside is a brushback pitch but that’s not the case here. You can never actually determine intent but one can safely presume the intention with the high inside pitch was payback and not just getting him off the plate. In the MLB, one would think that pitch would have got the benches warned and then when he actually got hit, the pitcher got ejected.

If it seems as if I’m taking both sides of the fence in this argument, it is because I am. Yes, there should be bat flips and raw emotion in baseball. The people showing these traits, if they are deemed to have gone too far, should be policed with a pitch in an area of the body that bruises but does not break. Let’s be honest Astudillo celebrated that homer better than many of us could celebrate winning the lottery. If you do not believe he went overboard with his exuberance, we are past the point of agreeing to disagree. Hopefully though we can agree that there is no room in baseball for retaliatory inside pitches targeted at the head.

If You Over-Celebrate, Yes You Should Get Plunked
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