Yesterday, after hitting a mostly meaningless, yet still somewhat unnerving, ninth inning home run to pull the Rays to within two runs of the Jays, Yunel Escobar made the same “safe” gesture at home plate as he did when he hit a game-tying blast in the seventh inning of a game during the Jays’ last series in Tampa.
Apparently this was a thing?
At least for some people it was. Gregg Zaun and his acolytes, for example:
@gumpscott what do you expect? childish behavior
— Gregg Zaun (@greggzaun) May 20, 2013
A quick Twitter search for “Escobar” and “classless” finds several more tweets (as does any search of Escobar’s name), while Curtis Rush of the Toronto Star used Storify to pick out a few other instances of fans getting upset about it.
Lending supposed credence to the ire the gesture has drawn from Jays fans is the fact that, after the game, Rays manager Joe Maddon told reporters, like Mark Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, that he was going to “to talk to him about the reaction after the home run. And I’m certain you’re not going to see that again.”
I suspect, however, that, as Richard Griffin said in his chat with readers at the Toronto Star today, “the Safe Sign was out of line mostly because they were down 7-5 in the ninth and not a time for excessive celebration. That’s what Maddon is mostly upset about.”
That, to me, makes sense– as does Escobar possibly being frustrated with his treatment by the Toronto fans, as seemingly demonstrated in a piece at gamereax, though clearly he should know damn well why they were getting on his case– especially seeing as, like I mentioned in the opening of this post, it’s not the first time Escobar has used the exact same celebration.
Matt Snyder posted the video of the May 9th home run this morning at CBS Sports:
So… was that one also offensive and classless? Do we not like any kind of celebratory outburst on the field, or is it only when it comes from a guy who we eventually remembered we’re not supposed to like? Were people as offended by the gesture in Tampa? And keeping in mind the standard being applied to Escobar, what do we think of a thing like this? Or this? Or this?
I’m asking honestly, because I don’t have a problem with any of it. And just because Escobar– whether it’s for what he wrote on his eye black, how he completely tone deaf he appeared when offering what was purported to be an apology, or his thoroughly sub-par play in his last season in Toronto– is a somewhat loathsome character, it doesn’t mean this “incident” amounts to anything more than, as Griff calls it, a tempest in a teapot.
And Josh Lueke pitched yesterday, for fuck sakes! Couldn’t fans have maybe spared some of the fucking indignation for that??? Yeah, I’m sure that at this point there’s plenty to go around, but still…