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Thursday, October 01, 2015

Jeremy Affeldt: I’m retiring. Here are five things I won’t miss about baseball

1. The incessant showboating

Nowadays, all you hear about is how “baseball is dying,” and “the game is too slow and boring,” and “MLB just needs to let these guys have more fun.” Believe me, we players hear all of that media-driven chatter, and we’re not buying it. Yes, baseball isn’t the NFL (that’s a good thing, in my opinion), or the NBA, where fans can rock the gear and emulate the stars much more easily.


But what baseball does have, that those other sports largely do not, is tradition. And while the history of the sport has seen more than its fair share of troubling (institutional) incidents, that is precisely why the game remains so important to so many Americans. Baseball is a reflection of ourselves, our struggles and triumphs, our perseverance.

This is why the recent trend of “look at me” machismo, mostly via these elaborate, annoying and overindulgent hand signals and signs, irks me so much. Yes, let’s celebrate the game of baseball, and, if warranted, celebrate our on-field accomplishments with genuine shows of emotion. When you smack a double into the gap to take the lead in the eighth inning, by all means, pump your fist and praise your maker in the sky. But when you flash self-congratulatory signs after a meaningless first-inning single—or, even worse, a walk—you’re clowning yourself and not representing your club or your teammates very well.

Despite this, as I ride off into the sunset, I truly believe the future of baseball is in great (if not overly demonstrative) hands. Here’s hoping the game’s young stewards take time off from patting themselves on the back, though, if only to take notice of how us old guys do things.


 

 

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