In lieu of actual baseball, I’ll be posting snippets that were cut from The Baseball Codes as a way of amusing myself and, hopefully, you. Today’s theme: showboating and celebrations These old stories help show just how far baseball has come.
In 2006, 21-year-old Mets rookie Lastings Milledge hit his first-ever home run, against the Giants, then high-fived the front row of fans at Shea Stadium as he ran to his position in right field to begin the following inning.
The outcry from San Francisco players was swift. “We weren’t too happy about that,” said Giants pitcher Steve Kline afterward. “I think he genuinely knows he did wrong.”
To avoid further bad blood, Mets manager Willie Randolph said publicly that he would talk to Milledge to assure that such behavior would not be repeated. Teammate Cliff Floyd also mentioned the potential consequences of such actions, telling reporters, “If that’s what you want to do, you do that. But at the same time, if you want guys throwing at your head constantly, you proceed to do it that way.”
At the very least, a guy across town had Milledge’s back. “I was so happy when I hit my first home run,” Derek Jeter told the Morrisown Daily Record. “If there were fans on the way back to shortstop I would have high-fived them. I don’t blame the kid.”