Restrictions on celebrations in baseball are a must, even when it comes after a hard-fought win that the whole team is happy about. While it’s understandable that everybody likes to go wild when they’re happy and excited, it’s also dangerous, and can lead to injuries. There are quite enough legitimate baseball injuries as it is, and we certainly don’t need extra ones to come about as a result of players’ carelessness.
MLB Needs to Place Restrictions on Celebrations
Most recently, the New York Mets lost their superstar closer Edwin Diaz to a torn patellar tendon in his right knee. The injury didn’t happen because a ball hit him. It didn’t happen because his pitching mechanics were off and the repetition of a wrong motion made his knee give out. It happened during the celebration after Puerto Rico beat the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic and Diaz recorded the final three outs.
It’s understandable that team Puerto Rico was excited. They all had a right to discharge their emotions in a reasonable way. But nobody needed to get hurt. Sure, we understand that the WBC is a big thing. But no game is big enough that a player needs to suffer an injury to show how happy his team is that they won it.
The reality of Diaz’s injury is just sickening. Here is a pitcher who had a brilliant outlook heading into 2023. Now, he is likely to miss the entire season. Not only that, but who knows whether he will be able to return to top form heading into 2024. This kind of thing simply cannot happen.
There are plenty of stories about players getting hurt cutting burger patties and washing dishes and doing other mundane things. But the worst non-baseball injuries typically happen in more dramatic circumstances, and a few of the ones that stand out are listed below.
1. Hunter Strickland’s Broken Pitching Hand
In 2018, San Francisco Giants closer Hunter Strickland punched a door after blowing a save, which resulted in the breaking of his hand. Not only did it keep him out for almost two months, but he pitched ineffectively on his return.
Since 2018, he hasn’t been the same pitcher that he was before. It’s hard to know how much of that is related to his hand injury, but he certainly would have had a better chance to stay consistent and effective had he not punched the door.
This example is almost the exact opposite of the one involving Diaz. The extreme emotion of the game, whichever side it falls on, can have consequences if not handled properly.
2. Yoenis Cespedes’ Broken Ankle
Wild boars can be scary. But that doesn’t excuse ballplayers who can’t figure out how to avoid being injured when they show up. Yoenis Cespedes was prevented from returning in 2019 because of this unnecessary injury.
Just as a side note, Cespedes was a player who had tremendous superstar potential. For a while, he was a great player. But injuries came and ultimately prevented him from being the player he could have been. Who knows whether he would have been elected to the Hall of Fame had his career not been cut short? Cespedes’ story is truly a sad one.
3. Kendrys Morales’ Broken Leg
Reports don’t agree on whether it was his leg or his ankle. But Kendrys Morales injured himself badly after a walk-off grand slam. This happened a long time ago, and Morales went on to play for several more years, but there was simply no reason for him to miss over a full season because of a grand slam celebration.
Not much can be done about the way players use their off-the-field time, but on the field, there need to be restrictions on celebrations put in place to prevent unnecessary injuries.
Actions have consequences, and everyone knows it. Since MLB officials seem to have such a knack for making new rules, most of which do not help the game at all, it might be time to start thinking about constructive change. A superstar closer just had a season-ending injury after the World Baseball Classic, and that is too great of a tragedy to be ignored.
Restrictions on celebrations have to come. There should be no physical contact permitted except for handshakes. And there should be no jumping up and down. Apologies to fans who get excited watching those kinds of things, but they make players get hurt and it’s not funny.
Honestly, even if the World Baseball Classic had to be permanently banned to prevent things like this from ever happening again, it would be worth it in my mind.