Earlier this week, Clint Hurdle had some choice words about two of the Chicago Cubs’ young budding starts. But I’m here to tell you he couldn’t be more wrong.
It’s not the first time Clint Hurdle has sparked controversy with his words between chomps of bubblegum. This time he put Chicago Cubs standouts Willson Contreras and Javier Baez in his crosshairs. Baez took the high road in his response, but that doesn’t make Hurdle’s words any better.
It’s unclear whether Hurdle actually felt the game of baseball was being disrespected or if he felt personally disrespected on behalf of his team. After all, they did give up four home runs to Javier Baez in two games.
Baseball is fun
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The older minds in baseball would prefer MLB players behave more robotic, so to speak. Any player that looks like they’re having too much fun is bound to be criticized around the league—as we saw with Baez and Contreras. The label of “disrespecting the game” is oft applied.
But where is the disrespect in enjoying the game? And with the high association between young kids and baseball, they should be able to watch a major league game where their favorite players are enjoying themselves.
It’s that youthful love of the game that attracts so many people to baseball. When grown men like Baez and Contreras just seem to be having fun, it’s hard not to enjoy watching them.
Baseball is getting younger
Look at the last two World Series Champions. Both winner followed the same formula: tear it down and build the farm.
It’s a sensible way of setting your club of for sustained success. Key pieces were built from within according to your club’s values. They’re also young, cheap and under control for some time.
And as that formula becomes more widespread, the league gets younger. Which, in turn, makes excitable players like Bryce Harper or Javier Baez all the more common.
Baseball changes. What’s expected of players, managers and coaches changes too. We shouldn’t shame young players for having fun playing baseball. We should encourage it because it’s good for the game.