Point-Counterpoint: David Ortiz's Showboating Bat Flip Vs. The Rays

  • Eric Goldschein

Welcome to SportsGrid’s Point-Counterpoint, a feature I just made up to discuss David Ortiz’s antics after hitting a massive home run against the Chris Archer yesterday. Ortiz has a history of pissing off the Tampa Bay Rays, most recently back in May, when David Price said Ortiz acts like he’s “bigger than the game.” Was Ortiz pimpin’ his blast too hard, or do the Rays need to just, like, shut up? It’s Point-Counterpoint.

First, here’s the video, so you know what we’re talking about:

And Archer’s reaction after the game, for context as to why this is something worth discussing:

Point: Everybody knows flipping your bat and taking more than two seconds to leave the bench is disrespectful.

By Eric Goldschein

Anyone who has ever played Little League knows one of the first rules of playing baseball is, you don’t show others up while playing baseball. You don’t flip your bat. You don’t stand in the batter’s box and admire your work as it flies over the fence (or, over the heads of the five kids playing in the outfield). You don’t look around in amazement (of yourself). You act, as they say, like you’ve been there before.

There are times when showboating is appropriate — when you hit a walk-off, perhaps — but the third inning of a July game on the road is not one of those times. As a 92-year veteran of this league, Ortiz should know better.

Counterpoint: Maybe don’t leave a fat change-up out over the plate if you don’t want to get shown up?

Also By Eric Goldschein

Putting aside the fact that Chris Archer has done a his fair share of showboating against these same Red Sox — he asked for this one. I’m not saying the answer to showboating is “don’t give up homers,” because homers are a part of the game and even the best pitches can get taken yard. But look at this pitch:

ortiz homer

I could hit that one out. That’s borderline insulting to leave a change-up out over the middle of the dish to one of the best hitters in the game. Of course he crushed that one, and of course he felt good about it. That was a challenge, and he met it, and you should feel stupid about it.

Learning the basics of sportsmanship is for people who don’t play for millions of dollars. If you don’t want hurt egos, go play in the sandbox. This game is for ADULTS.

Point: So, you’re saying pitches that are easier to hit are more worth celebrating?

Because that doesn’t make any sense. Maybe if he hit a 106 mile an hour curve ball, I’d be more willing to cut him slack for pimping afterwards. Hitting a meatball doesn’t give me a boner, metaphorically speaking. Only eating one does. Literally speaking.

Ortiz said after the game that Archer had been in the league “two days,” when in reality Archer has been in the league for three years. Talk about disrespectful — learn something about your opponents, Papi.

Counterpoint: Here’s the difference between the Rays and David Ortiz: David Ortiz doesn’t suck.

The bottom-line here is that David Ortiz has three World Series rings, while David Price, Chris Archer and the rest of the Rays are, generally speaking, a bunch of bottom-feeders who overachieved the past few years into fooling people into thinking they are contenders. Yes, I know the Rays are ahead of the Sox in the standings right now, but this is the exception, not the rule.

When Archer wins a ring, he can talk about what Ortiz does. When Price wins a ring, he can wonder why some people act like they are “bigger than the game” (when some people would say he’s merely enhancing the experience). When Joe Maddon wins a ring, maybe he can finally get out of Tampa Bay. Until then, Ortiz owns the Rays, and can do as he pleases.

Point: Ortiz is turning from folk hero into villain.

People liked Ortiz when he was using his powers for “good” — i.e., beating the Yankees in 2004 and 2007. When he turns his big bat (but mostly, his big mouth) against smaller teams, it just looks bad. He’s no longer standing up for the little guy, but creating another Evil Empire that few people who aren’t Red Sox fans will empathize with.

Also he totally took steroids.

Counterpoint: We NEED villains in baseball now, more than ever.

Do you even watch baseball, Eric? I happen to know that you don’t. And you know why? Well, of course you do, and I do, but I’ll tell you: Baseball is boring right now. Gone, for the most part, are the big bats of the steroid era; gone, for the most part, are the compelling storylines of the 2000s, from the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry to the rise of great individual talents like Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez.

Now? Who are the heroes, and who are the villains? Mariano Rivera is gone, and Derek Jeter is about to follow him. The glory days of Pujols and Rodriguez are gone (especially for the latter). The only thing everyone seems to agree on nowadays is that Mike Trout is awesome.

So if Mike Trout is awesome, who will be his counterpoint? You are my counterpoint, Eric, and Ortiz can be Trout’s. A guy who doesn’t “play the game the right way,” but plays it well. A guy who showboats, pimps, grandstands, brags, talks shit and takes no fucking prisoners — we need guys like that if we hope to care at all about the league going forward. Barry Bonds used to be that guy. Let Ortiz be that guy now, before he can’t anymore and we realize we wanted him to be an asshole all along, just so we could talk about it.

What do you think? Do you agree with Point, or Counterpoint? Let both of them know.