So the Dominicans like to party. They play hard on the field, and they celebrate wins—hell, they celebrate runs—like they just won the lottery. It’s downright un-big league of them, causing their opponents no end of concern.
Following the DR’s 3-1 victory over the United States on Thurday, Brandon Phillips went so far as to say that some American players were less than pleased, and promised to “show out” in a rematch—I assume this is akin to hot dogging—if he got the chance.
Well, the U.S.’s 4-3 loss to Puerto Rico on Friday assured that Phillips will not get his moment, but that’s beside the point. Like many of their brethren from Latin America, DR players have celebrated their achievements with outsized displays on the field. When Erik Aybar drove in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning on Thursday, his team came streaking onto the field in celebration, despite the fact that the game had not yet ended. When Jose Reyes plated another run moments later, they did it again. And the scene after Fernando Rodney closed out the Americans in the bottom half of the frame put the previous displays to shame. (Emma Span has a collection of highlights in her Sports on Earth column.)
In Major League Baseball, it would all be seen as showing up the opposition, with the offending parties criticized (correctly so), and possibly made an example of by a willing pitcher with a wandering fastball.
This, however, is not Major League Baseball. It is the World Baseball Classic, and the Dominicans are not playing with foreign teammates on the Yankees, Dodgers or Rangers—they’re playing with each other. Representing a country in which such emotional displays are the norm, they have every right to their celebrations.
Baseball is an American game, but it’s long been known that its code doesn’t necessarily translate overseas, be it the Caribbean, Japan or locations in between. When players from there play on teams over here, it is incumbent upon them to learn the local mores, and abide by them. When it comes to national teams, however, not to mention national pride, these players have earned the right to celebrate with enthusiasm.
Should be a heck of a final series.