October 29, 2012
Out of Left Field
Postseason Celebrations: A Celebration
When we think about series-winning celebrations, we usually think about the dogpile on the mound or, in the case of a walk-off, the tackle-the-guy-who-got-the-hit-and/or-scored-the-winning-run. Like the history of baseball itself, the history of post-game celebrations is one of evolution. As society has changed, celebrations have become livelier. For example, here is a picture of the winners of the first-ever World Series, the Boston Americans, after they defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1903.
The first thing the astute reader will note is that the Pittsburgh Pirates are, in fact, sitting directly behind the Americans, also known as the Beaneaters, also known as the team that just beat them. It may be because of the primitive camera technology of the day that forced players to sit very still for long periods of time (relatively) to be photographed, but there don’t appear to be many smiles on the faces of the World Champions. Counting smiles moving from left to right, I get no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, maybe, no. If I had to guess which team won and which lost based only on appearances, I don’t think I could do it.* Also of note, the guy on the far left of the photo is holding a box. This is probably the first World Series trophy.
*Hmm… Pittsburgh? No? Rats.
Fortunately we’ve moved beyond the sportsmanship required to sit within inches of the opponents who just ended your season. And when I say, “moved beyond,” I mean “backed away from,” and when I say, “backed away from,” I mean “sprinted backward until we fell on our collective bottom.” We’ve reached a place where it’s unacceptable to show up your opponent after hitting a home run against him, but beating him in the World Series means you can throw a frat party on the mound. Progress.
What do the post-series celebrations from this postseason tell us about the winners and the losers? Maybe nothing. I went through each of the series to see.