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MLB Doesn’t Need Flamboyant Trash Talk



By Mike Silva ~ June 10th, 2011. Filed under: Mike Silva.

In a word, no. There is nothing wrong with joy and passion, but the clownish arrogance we see in the NFL and NBA serves no purpose in America’s Pastime. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports disagrees, as he believes the recent antics of Bryce Harper – where he stared down a pitcher and blew a kiss at him after a home run – will be good for the marketing of the sport.

Passan correctly points out that MLB’s most marketable players all are rather vanilla. Derek Jeter, Evan Longoria, and Tim Lincecum all have commercials that range from corporate shill to silly teeny bopper. The most flamboyant spokesperson might be Giants closer Brian Wilson, but he is more a silly caricature than edgy.

Loyal readers of this site may find it ironic that I am advocating the status quo. I rail against the backwards thinking of Bud Selig, pine for Mark Cuban to gain ownership of a team, and promote creativity. We are no longer a generation of people that just watches the game for the action on the field. We need the theatrics that come with it. We need our athletes to have personality so we connect with them. There is a middle ground between Mariano Rivera/Derek Jeter and Bryce Harper. For all the flamboyance of the NBA, it’s not like people were calling for everyone to act like Dennis Rodman.

Baseball is a game of failure. For all his talent, Bryce Harper is still unsuccessful this season 64% of the time.  The season is a marathon, not a sprint. Rewards come long term, not in the moment. The Giants winning the World Series last year was the culmination of 10 months of training, practice, games, and postseason. It’s acceptable for the aforementioned Wilson to celebrate with joy. It wouldn’t be acceptable if he screamed at every batter he struck out along the way. The age of new media has made it easy for players to create a circus for themselves outside the field. We don’t need the game to become diluted even more. If I wanted wrestling, I would watch wrestling.

So when do we know that passion and joy has turned into the theatre of the absurd that marks the NFL and NBA? I don’t have an algorithm, but I am sure the players will police the action. Joe Girardi let David Ortiz know his Tuesday night antics were not appreciated. The league has tolerated Jose Reyes “claw” to date. Obviously, A-Rod knows not to walk past Dallas Braden’s mound. Baseball is a special game because it’s not the NFL and NBA. Those sports have a role in society, and baseball has its own. What works in those sports won’t translate into baseball. Let’s keep it that way

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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 MLB Doesn’t Need Flamboyant Trash Talk

  1. Bob Watson

    This article is pathetic. Why don’t you start posting about how all you New Yorkers are such PUSSIES who are AFRAID to confront the government about 9/11 ??

    From a non-stuck-up, honest and brave American who sees the humor and candidness of sports figures w/o having a New Yorkers warped point of view.

  2. matthew

    I think the difference is where you are directing celebration. Pointing at a pitcher or batter is unacceptable. Celebrating behind or away is ok. It’s just like how you act toward an umpire.

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