Steve Hofstetter: Baseball Needs To Focus On Being Baseball

In recent years, Major League Baseball has made a concerted effort to improve pace of play to make the game more exciting for younger fans. Comedian Steve Hofstetter, however, doesn’t think that is necessary.

But he would like to see changes. 

“I think baseball needs to concentrate on being baseball,” Hofstetter said in studio on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “As a Mets fan, I can’t like Bryce Harper, but the Make Baseball Fun Again thing is real. That’s absolutely real.”

The 24-year-old Harper unveiled this slogan last April. He wants baseball to abandon many of its unwritten rules about decorum and allow players to express emotion and enthusiasm – without fear of taking a 98-mile-per-hour fast ball to the temple. 

“A lot of (players) celebrate,” Hofstetter said. “Why is it that pitchers can strike someone out and drop to their knees and pump their fist and thank the various gods, but if a hitter smiles after a home run, he’s suddenly upstaging the pitcher? Have fun with it. That will attract people. People love the game. Just let it be the game.”

Boston’s Matt Barnes, for example, threw behind Baltimore’s Manny Machado on Sunday. The pitch was likely in retaliation for Machado catching Dustin Pedroia with his spikes during a slide into second base last Friday. Machado apologized to Pedroia via text after the game, but the Red Sox were apparently still angry.

Hitters are subject to beanings for any number of offenses, including slides, bat flips, and the speed of a home-run trot. 

Hofstetter, 37, doesn’t get it. 

“We should be allowed to celebrate,” he said. “Now look, if you hit a home run and you’ve got a coordinated dance number and a bunch of air cannons and a flyover jet, okay, we’re throwing at your head. We’re throwing at your whole family if you do that. (But) be excited. Be happy. You did something awesome.”

Football players celebrate after a sack or touchdown. Basketball players celebrate after a slam dunk or three-pointer. Soccer players celebrate after a goal.

But baseball players? A celebration could result in a concussion. 

“Baseball is the only sport where it’s one-thing-at-a-time,” Hofstetter said. “With basketball, yeah, someone can slam dunk, but it’s through a play, whereas with baseball it’s one guy versus one guy. And it’s whoever wins that battle. Whoever wins that battle is allowed to celebrate. When a boxer wins, he’s allowed to celebrate. It’s the same thing.”

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