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When Did Home Plate Celebrations Go Awry?



By Mike Silva ~ May 31st, 2010. Filed under: Mike Silva.

I was thinking about the injury to Kendry Morales a couple of days after he broke his leg in a home plate celebration and the question that kept coming up was when did the home plate pile on start?

I was watching the 1988 Mets Yearbook on SNY this weekend and noticed pretty tame celebrations for walk off homers by Howard Johnson, Darryl Strawberry, Kevin Elster, and Kevin McReynolds. The team greeted them at home plate while the third base coach high fived the batter down the line. No pounding on their head or human scrum. From memory the first time I remember these home plate celebrations was in the late nineties/2000 when the Mets did it to Benny Agbayani in the NLDS and we all know what happened with the “Grand Slam Single.” I went back to 1996 and watched Bernie Williams Game 1 homer off Randy Myers in the ALCS. A little more animated and some light pounding on the head, but nothing dangerous to Bernie’s health.

As you get past the turn of the century you see Jeter’s walk off in 2001 (little wilder), Boone’s in 2003 (a little more), and today you have a full out war at home plate. The first time I saw the helmet flip was David Ortiz against the Angels in 2004. That’s what my memory tells me anyway. It seems like an innocent celebration has just gone too far. Morales isn’t the first to get hurt in a celebration as it happened to a prospect in the minor leagues as well.

As Jason Bay said earlier today you get “caught up in the moment,” but the fact remains the human body doesn’t respond well to 24 men pounding on it at one time. Maybe the home plate pile on has “jumped the shark” and I know if I owned the Angels I would at least talk to the team about toning down the antics at home plate.

How about something in between 1988 and 2010? Maybe a hybrid celebration that takes the joy and excitement factor without losing common sense perspective?

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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2 Responses to When Did Home Plate Celebrations Go Awry?

  1. Shamik

    I’d rather they be a little more imaginative with their celebrations. How about that “controversial” Prince Fielder celebration where he jumped on home plate and everyone fell down? Then everyone got up and there were some high fives, backslaps, and fist bumps. Come up with a few creative ideas and implement them when you win.

    BUT ONLY AT HOME! Have a little more class and mute the celebration when you’re away.

    Prince Fielder HR: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nx70zbmnNJI&feature=related

  2. David Allan

    Mike,

    Interesting point, I have to assume it was just prior to the helmet flip that it got out of hand, as I remember seeing an interview where they talked to Ortiz about throwing off his helmet. He said it was because earlier he had worn his helmet onto the plate and guys kept on waking him on the head and it was really painful on his neck, so when he took it off although he still was getting hugged, wacked and hit, it was in the arms, back, shoulders, etc, and was less painful.

    I remember him doing it, and he did have a lot of big hits that year, so hopefully that will more accurately direct you to the answer of when things got out of hand.

    Show has been great, had a chance to catch a few here and there.

    David

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