In case you haven’t paid much attention to the abbreviated MLB season, the San Diego Padres are now extremely fun. The Padres are second in the league in home runs, fifth in run scored and first in Let The Kids Play™️ attitude.
They hit grand slams on 3-0 pitches in blowouts. They play with flair. And they’re decidedly pro-bat flip.
That evidently got on the nerves of Dodgers manager Dave Roberts during Monday’s game in San Diego.
With Trent Grisham at the plate in the sixth inning against Clayton Kershaw, the Padres center fielder launched a game-tying solo home run to right field. And he knew it.
Grisham turned his back, admired the home run and then flipped his bat before starting his trot. As he rounded third base, the Dodgers dugout had some words for Grisham. And, evidently, it came from Roberts.
The Dodgers manager said after the 7-2 loss to San Diego that he took exception with Grisham’s bat flip because it was off of Kershaw — a pitcher who deserves respect. He said via dodgerblue.com:
“I don’t mind guys admiring a homer. Certainly it’s a big game, big hit. Really like the player, but I just felt to stay at home plate, certainly against a guy like Clayton who’s got the respect of everyone in the big leagues and what he’s done in this game, I just took exception to that. I think there’s a certain respect you give a guy if you homer against him.”
Oh, come on.
If anything, hitting a game-tying home run off Kershaw called for that elevated celebration. It was a huge hit against a future Hall of Famer. Grisham shouldn’t need to tone down his happiness because he hit a home run off a great pitcher. It sounds so silly when you try to explain it.
Plus, I don’t recall Roberts being upset with Max Muncy when he told Madison Bumgarner to get a ball out of the ocean after flipping his bat (albeit not an emphatic bat flip) in 2019. If he’s going to preach showing re2pect to a certain pedigree of pitcher, it should go both ways. But, really, that whole concept is dumb, and players should admire home runs and flip bats whenever they want because it’s fun.
To Kershaw’s credit, he said that he didn’t mind Grisham’s celebration. Listen to Kershaw, Dave. Players can celebrate how they want.