PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Marcell Ozuna and Ronald Acuña Jr. might have ruffled some feathers in Philadelphia this week when they flapped their arms during home run trots — a nod to giving the ball “wings” on the long balls — but not so much in the Phillies' clubhouse.
The Phillies, after all, have spiked bats on home runs and make juggling motions with their hands — as if they have big, well, you know — on each big hit.
Manager Rob Thomson is a bit old-school in his philosophy but he prefers that players, as the saying goes, act like they’ve been there before when they celebrate. Without singling out the Braves' exuberant home run hitters, the second-year manager said he understood players were bound to get excited but didn’t necessarily have to showboat their way around the bases.
Thomson appeared on a Philadelphia sports radio station Wednesday and said “I like our guys to act like they’ve been there before,” which was perceived as a shot at the Braves. Thomson said from the dugout hours before the Phillies and Braves were set to wrap a four-game series that he just stated his personal philosophy.
No hard feelings, Atlanta. Honest.
“That was nothing to do with the Atlanta Braves and what Ronald does, or Ozuna,” Thomson said. “They can do what they want. I can’t control that. I just mentioned that I preferred people act like they’d been there. I wasn’t trying to start a controversy or anything like that.”
Thomson also noted that the days of a pitcher sticking a fastball in a batter’s ribs because there was a perception of being shown up are long gone.
“It’s a different game now,” Thomson said. “I think most players, like myself, respect the other players so much that they understand they can ruin someone’s career.”
Acuña and Ozuna have helped the Braves fly to the best record in baseball, and Atlanta can clinch its sixth straight NL East title with a win Wednesday.
Baseball celebrations have blown up in creative and entertaining ways over the years. The days of the Bash Brothers' forearm bumps seem as antiquated as complete games.
In Pittsburgh, they swashbuckle. In Minnesota, they fish. In Miami, they drape themselves in bling. In Seattle, they don a tricked-out Darth Vader helmet and brandish a trident. In Washington, they literally wig out. In Arizona, they wrap themselves in leather.
And in Atlanta, they flap — like it or not.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB
Dan Gelston, The Associated Press