Grading the unwritten rules: The Dodgers' celebrations

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

This is Yasiel Puig:


This is Yasiel Puig on third base:


Any questions?

Yes? The person in the back, covered in pine tar? Who smells like a doubleheader on a warm summer day?

Best fan in the world: How dare he?

Pardon?

Best fan in the world: How dare he disrespect the game like that?

Oh. I guess this is a thing, now. And it wasn't the stare-down or bat-flip that offended the Cardinals, but more Puig exulting to the heavens and doing the Running Man on third base. Adrian Gonzalez was excited, too, and the Cardinals took offense at that.

"I didn't see it," Wainwright said. "I saw Adrian doing some Mickey Mouse stuff on third base, but I didn't see what Yasiel did. Those guys are fired up. This is playoff baseball, they want it over there."

Gonzalez was asked about Wainwright's comments following the game.

"I did what I always do," Gonzalez said. "We are in L.A., so Mickey Mouse stuff does go. ... Mickey Mouse is only an hour away. So, you know, it fits us. I did what I always do."

Meeeow. To be fair to Wainwright, he wasn't exactly expressing outrage. It was an offhand mention of a guy acting the fool, followed by an instant explanation of why that might happen. Wainwright defused it a sentence later. It shouldn't have been a big deal. Carlos Beltran had some thoughts on Puig being a maniac, and those quotes were a little more pointed.

Great ability, great talent, and I think with time, he will learn that you have to sometimes act a little bit more calm. Not only with trying to show up other teams, [but also], like, umpires. It's going to take him time, but he's going to learn."

Probably nothing Beltran needs to worry about, really, but it's not like Beltran was ripping into Puig. This whole mini-kerfuffle is kind of silly. Deadspin compiled some GIFs of Cardinals celebrating with much gusto, and that's about the only appropriate response.

The open question, though, is how much cheering and clapping is too much? The Greater Internet Echo Chamber has decided that bat flips, home-run-stare-downs, and wild gesticulations are cool, while unwritten rules, Brian McCann, and grumpy old-schoolers are decidedly uncool. And I'll err on the side of the GIEC most of the time. But there is a limit. Picture a baseball player doing this after every RBI double:


It would be funny once. If you're reading this, Yasiel, note that it absolutely would be funny once. But there's a fine line between cheering and taking the attention away from the sport itself -- becoming a one-man wave, in essence. You hate the wave, right? Every baseball nerd hates the wave. Distracts from the game. Pants-on-head celebrating is on that level.

That's pretty unlikely, though. So let's write the unwritten rules for something a little more likely. How much clapping and cheering is too much? There are two simple rules.

1. Don't stare down an opposing player or dugout when you do it;

2. Keep any non-walk-off celebration shorter than that of the average Showcase Showdown winner.

They pick spazzes to be on The Price is Right because that's the whole point. As long as you're not staring down the other team or acting like a Price is Right spaz, you should be cool. Looking at the Gonzalez and Puig celebrations, then, I'll give them a 0 on the 1-to-10 unwritten-rules scale. Really, the whole I'm-making-hand-goggles thing is more annoying and offensive than what the Dodgers did on Monday night, and no one really cares about it.

What about Puig's bat-flip on a ball that didn't go out? I'll argue that's outside the domain of unwritten rules. That's just a player making himself look silly. The other team has the option of throwing him out and/or not allowing him to score. Watching a ball that doesn't go out doesn't hurt America's pastime. It hurts the player's efforts to help his team win, and he's going to look like a jackass if he gets thrown out or has to stay at first. That's all it is.

Why did the unwritten-rules beacon go off? Why are we here? Cheering after a big hit? Good gravy, that thing isn't a toy, you know.

For more on Yasiel Puig and the bees in his pants, please visit True Blue LA

For more on the Cardinals being a bunch of frumps, please visit Viva El Birdos

More from Baseball Nation:

When momentum wasn’t enough to win a playoff series

The greatest scouting report ever

The horrible outfield defense of the Cardinals

Coming back from an 0-2 deficit

Where’s Shelby Miller?

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