Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez irked by hitters showboating during World Series

Eduardo Rodriguez of the Boston Red Sox celebrates after pitch. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Eduardo Rodriguez of the Boston Red Sox celebrates after pitch. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Boston Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez called out hitters from the Nationals and Astros for admiring their home runs during Game 6 of the World Series.

Game 6 of the 2019 World Series provided its fair share of controversy and Eduardo Rodriguez isn’t thrilled about it. No, I’m not referring to the bogus interference call at first base. What caught the attention of the Boston Red Sox lefty was the showboating that the hitters taunted his fellow pitchers with.

Alex Bregman started it – of course he did, when has Bregman ever been shy about stirring the pot? The MVP candidate blasted a solo shot to left field to put the Houston Astros on top 2-1 in the first inning.

Bregman paused to admire his homer before casually trotting toward first base with his bat still in hand. He didn’t toss the stick aside until he was rounding first base! The horror! The blatant disrespect!

It wouldn’t end there as the Washington Nationals got their revenge in the fifth inning when Juan Soto hit a go-ahead moonshot to center field. The 21-year old countered Bregman’s actions by taking his bat for a walk down the first baseline.

We’ve seen pitchers outraged by players flipping their bats after a home run. Now they are getting worked up by how long it takes the hitter to drop their bat?

Stephen Strasburg clearly wasn’t rattled by Bregman’s overzealous home run trot. The right-hander didn’t allow another run on his way to tossing 8 1/3 innings to earn the win that forced a Game 7. Justin Verlander didn’t stick around much longer after Soto took him deep but he didn’t appear bothered by it.

The only pitchers who seemed to care about this perceived showboating are the ones who were watching at home, including Rodriguez.

E-Rod throwing shade at these hitters for doing “what they want” was less about scolding young players about proper baseball etiquette and more about pointing out a double standard. Yes, many pitchers get aggravated when a hitter shows them up on the field. However, hitters act offended when a pitcher enthusiastically fist-pumps after a strikeout. It goes both ways.

Major League Baseball’s promotions throughout the postseason have focused on the mantra of “let the kids play.” They want to highlight the young crop of emerging stars, which includes Bregman and Soto. These players are flashy, charismatic, and won’t shy away from showing a bit of emotion. Baseball needs more personality from their stars in order to capture the attention of fans who have more alternative options to watch on television than ever before. They need to infuse more excitement into the game.

Unfortunately, this flies in the face of long-held traditions about the unwritten rules of baseball. MLB players have a long history of being overly sensitive. The NFL gets criticized for being the No Fun League yet they’ll allow players to collaborate on creative end zone celebrations. If a hitter does anything beyond putting their head down and jogging around the bases after a home run, they can expect to be brushed off the plate with a fastball inside the next time they face that pitcher.

Baseball players are people. They’re humans with emotions. Let them show it! Both hitters and pitchers need to stop worrying about hurting the feelings of their opponents and they need to stop whining about it when it happens to them.

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Obviously, there are limits to what players can do to celebrate and we don’t want to start brawls fueled by excessive taunting. There’s still room for players to show off their personalities. Let the kids play!