Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred weighed-in on the debate between the traditionalists and the celebrationists. He thinks hot dogs go great with baseball.
“I think it’s always been true in baseball that with respect with what happens on the field, not the rules but the way players conduct themselves, that each generation of players defines what’s acceptable behavior,” he said on ESPN’s Mike & Mike program. “It’s not always been exactly the same.”
In the wake of Jose Bautista’s batflip home run against the Texas Rangers in last year’s postseason, players past and present have expressed themselves on self-expression in the stoic game. Hall of Famers Goose Gossage and Mike Schmidt, along with 2014 AL MVP Mike Trout, argued for maintaining composure and showing respect for the opposition. Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, the reigning NL MVP, and Carlos Gomez of the Houston Astros, who dabbed after a recent spring training home run, spoke passionately about passion.
“I kind of line up with Bryce Harper on this,” the commissioner admits. “We have a great generation of young stars coming into the game. And just like Goose and his peers decided that certain things were okay and certain things weren’t, this generation is going to define what the game looks like on those topics.”
The commissioner said of Bautista’s prolonged stare and batflip after his homer in the final game of the 2015 ALDS that “probably on balance it’s good for the game.” He explained, “If I were a player, I wouldn’t do that. The fact of the matter is what he did did not offend me.”
The players have acted. The commissioner has spoken.