Los Angeles Dodgers: Grisham’s homer begs the question, WHEN can the Kids play?

The Los Angeles Dodgers were none too happy after Trent Grisham’s flashy home run trot, leaving us to ask… again… when can we let the kids play?

Ah yes, here we are again. No, I’m not talking about the exciting race to the postseason, nor the incredibly historic milestones being passed by the greatest power hitter of this century. Instead, we’re here again, debating what level of fun baseball players are allowed to have while playing –checks notes — a game.

I’m fairly positive that I’m not going to shed any light on the specific incident that happened last night involving San Diego Padres outfielder Trent Grisham that hasn’t already been discussed ad nauseam, as I’m not a beat reporter, nor what many would call a “news breaker”.

Buuuut just for giggles let me put a cap on it for you readers:  Trent Grisham pimped a dinger off Los Angeles Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw, and Dave Roberts took exception saying that Kershaw “… deserved more respect…” than some funky dance moves and forearm bumps.

The audacity.

Of course, the first layer of this onion of silliness has to do with Roberts’s occasional second baseman (no, NOT Mookie Betts) Max Muncy, and his now-infamous “Go get it out of the Ocean” line delivered to Madison Bumgarner after a verbal tussle with the three-time World Series champ pitcher.

I’m not normally one to flash credentials here, and not comparing the body of statistical work between Bumgarner and Kershaw, but it does set the Los Angeles Dodgers manager up for the question to be begged:

Where were you when THAT happened?  Does Bumgarner not garner the same sort of respect demanded of Kershaw?

You can split hairs about how Bumgarner hasn’t done himself any favors in the “not being a curmudgeon” department, or about different circumstances, or whatever you want.  It’s a sport that leaves plenty of room for this type of debate, and the truth is, that we’re all entitled to enjoy the game in our own ways.

But consider the bigger issue here.  The juxtaposition of MLB’s announcement of dry postseason locker room celebrations and the reprimanding of a young player for not showing enough “respect” to a pitcher, while not intentional, just sum up the league’s absolutely tone-deafness, while they shrug their shoulders and wonder why young people don’t watch enough of this game.

The game is navigating a pandemic shortened season, after a historic cheating scandal, and staring down an incredibly dicey labor negotiation that has a non-zero chance of resulting in a labor strike.

Yet here we are again, debating on how long a runner stared at a home run or made some gesture in celebration after doing the single hardest thing in any sport ever (hit a baseball with a bat).

It used to be said that the thing about baseball players is that they’re the most like “us”.  I can assure you, that if I managed to hit a Clayton Kershaw pitch of any variety over the outfield fence, I will do freakin’ cartwheels around the bases, and I think that sentiment could be echoed among nearly everyone that doesn’t currently don a professional uniform.

Yet, we continue to suppress these expressions of joy and allow the one piece of this game that still seems to consider the fans (the players) to drift further away from us.

But ya know, respect and all that.