first_imgThe commercials set social media on fire: exciting highlights of MLB’s youngest stars, jubilantly showing flair, personality and refreshing energy. The message: Let the kids play.The takeaway was this: Old-school, stoic, limited-emotion, “respectful” baseball is taking a back seat to that youthful jubilance, and MLB is behind the change 100 percent. But as we saw Wednesday after Tim Anderson of the White Sox tossed his bat on a homer, then took a fastball to the body in his next at-bat, not everyone endorses the message. There was whining and complaining and, as usual, talk of respect. And, as usual, it was silly.MORE: Watch ‘ChangeUp,’ a new MLB live whiparound show on DAZNIn other words, MLB wants to let the kids play, but some of those kids would rather act like toddlers.Not that this is surprising. Baseball, as a sport, is relentless in its pursuit of preaching that individualism is bad, that emotion is bad and that to become like one of those showy sports like basketball or football is to ruin a sacred tradition that blah, blah, blah, blah. There’s no need to rehash this: It’s been done to death, including by me.There’s another reason for this column: I’ve come up with a list of questions I’d like answered. I still don’t get the quasi-religious stuff that’s attached to baseball. But I’m willing to be educated. I’m genuinely curious. So, if you’re reading this and are a current or former MLB player, DM me on Twitter or email [email protected] and answer these. Feel free to expand in any way you want or address anything I’ve missed. This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list of questions. I’ll let you be anonymous if you want.1. How do you feel about the “let the kids play” campaign?2. Why are some pitchers so offended by bat flips or pimping of homers? Be as detailed as possible. Related. …3. Why are bat flips and pimping homer “disrespectful?” Again, please explain thoroughly. Related to that. …4. Are your feelings really that fragile? (This is a serious question). Related to that. …5. Why is the best revenge not just getting the guy out next time? (Amir Garrett seems to understand that.) Related to that. …6. Why are hurt feelings or “disrespect” frowned upon, but physical pain in the form of retaliation is OK? Related to that. …7. Do you think a potentially career- or life-altering injury from an intentional fastball to the head is a punishment that fits the crime? (Aubrey Huff thinks so.)8. Are you aware players did bat flips in the ’70s and ’80s without retaliation? 9. Do you think if a pitcher “celebrates” a strikeout that the hitter should be allowed to throw his bat at him in order to “police” him?10. With the NBA and NFL attracting the attention of many young fans and athletes, do you think baseball would benefit from more showmanship?11. What do “respect the game” and “play the game the right way” really mean? I look forward to the responses. MORE: Ranking baseball’s five dumbest unwritten rulesBut here’s the key issue: MLB needs to decide whether it really wants to let the kids play — free of intentional fastballs to the body — or whether it’s OK allowing this mixed message that includes the idea that any display of “showy” personality deserves a potentially career- or life-altering retaliatory blow. I continue to not understand why acting “like you’ve been there before” is supposedly a more pure way to play a child’s game.last_img

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