The Art of the Walk-Off Home Run Celebration

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As of September 7, 2009 the Milwaukee Brewers were 14 games back in their division and 10 1/2 games back of the Wild Card lead. They were coming off a victory over the San Francisco Giants at their home park. Milwaukee dropped the first two games, but came back in the third to tie and eventually win in extra innings. In dramatic fashion mind you. Bottom of the twelfth, self proclaimed vegetarian slugger Prince Fielder drives a ball to deep right field. It does clear the wall for a game winning walk-off home run. We all get caught up in the moment whether we are the player, fan or broadcaster. It’s an exciting moment that I have been present for both as a fan and a broadcaster. I was there in 2002 as a season ticket holder for the Angels when they had that magical season. Many come from behind walk-off wins that year. I was a broadcaster for the 2008 Long Beach Armada team that had four straight walk-off wins in a row. You don’t see that very often. There are many unwritten rules in this sport and you don’t know how someone will react to the way you celebrate that dramatic win. Many took issue to Mr. Fielder’s.

Prince approached second base and began to untuck his shirt. Rounding third he gives his teammates a look and they all began to brace for something. I thought he was going to slide into home like Rickey Henderson did when he set the all time runs scored record with a home run. Nice. Anyway Prince didn’t do that. He jumped as high as he could, came down on home plate and the entire Brewer team proceeded to fall down like an earthquake just happened (see above). My first reaction was, “I’ve never seen that before.” My second thought was, “that was very creative.” My last, “someone is going to get pegged.” Luckily that was the last of a three game series between the two. And luckily for Prince, the last meeting of the season.

Torii Hunter of the Angels said this after being asked about the celebration,

“It’s all TV, acting, until someone gets hit with a pitch in the chin. I’m old-school. I could never do that.”

Joe Saunders voiced a similar opinion,

“It was original. Fans like to see it. But as a player, it’s a little over the top.”

Fielder thought of the celebration in a different light,

“It was fun, especially the way the season is going now for us,” Fielder said. “It’s always good to have some fun.”

Now all three are correct in their quotes. Torii is of the old school sector of Baseball that doesn’t like an entire team to show up the other in victory. Joe was right that the home town fans will love it, but what about the opposing dugout? Prince is also right. You are playing a game and you want to have fun no matter what place in the standings you are at that point. I had no beef with the celebration, but if I were to do something different, I wouldn’t have untucked my shirt going to second. It sounds weird to complain about that, but it just seemed to be too much. You do need to realize that you didn’t win the World Series. It was a September game that ended in dramatic fashion that affected the Giants season more than the Brewers. Oh, and a triple play was turned by the Brewers in that game to. You gotta love Baseball.

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