A Solution For Those Who Dislike The Dodgers' Behavior
The inconvenient part for teams that see fit to dictate to other teams regarding behavior is that they have to combine the propriety lessons with winning. The Braves lost to the Dodgers in four games, so there’s not much they can say.
After their game three NLCS loss, the Cardinals referred to the Dodgers’ teamwide behavior on the basepaths as “Mickey Mouse.” Adam Wainwright made the comment and was referring to the normally taciturn Adrian Gonzalez. Perhaps Gonazlez is simply taking the lead from Puig and getting the fans involved. Puig’s reputation is known throughout baseball and he’s been spoken to for his attitude by coach Mark McGwire and benched and fined by manager Don Mattingly. That’s the stuff we know about. Rest assured that if there are ten incidents that make it into the public sphere, there are probably another twenty that were kept in-house.
Is this a problem?
I’m not a big fan of the histrionics players show today. That includes players who do it in a far more understated way than Puig expresses his happiness, but there’s not much that can be done to stop it. As recently as twenty years ago, if a player did something so innocuous as clapping his hands once as he rounded the bases on a home run, he was running the risk of getting himself or one of his teammates drilled for showing up the opponent. Curtain calls are commonplace now, but in the mid-1980s, the Mets were constantly getting into on-field brawls because of the practice. It’s escalated as players have pushed the envelope. It’s easily understandable because players from Cuba and the Dominican Republic are used to treating the game as a game. They’re not going to be stoic like the Japanese are. It’s cultural and won’t stop even if they’re thrown at or chastised.
If the Cardinals have a problem with it, there’s a simple solution. Get Puig out and beat the Dodgers. The Braves had a lot to say all season long about the way the game “should” be played with the self-satisfied arrogance that was their hallmark during their 1990s run of divisional dominance. The problem is that the 1990s Braves aren’t remembered for playing the game right, but for constantly choking in the playoffs. It’s easier to try and dictate behavior if you win.