Are you not entertained? – A fresh look to the sport we love

One of the best things to happen to this writer over the last two years was entering the world of journalism, covering my favorite organization: The Baltimore Orioles.

Of course, reading this, it’s easy to say that as a writer, I enjoy and love what I do. But that’s not the purpose of this article. In fact, what I have come to discuss is how the fun of baseball seems to be returning, and Baltimore seems to be leading the way.  

As an Orioles fan, I assure you, this is not a biased take. I grew up watching the likes of Ken Griffey Jr. making baseball electric and exciting. He wore the backward hat, smiled at the joy of playing and made every kid want to join in on how fun the sport truly is. 

Things changed, though, once he left Seattle and steroids became an issue for the game. Instead of watching with joy, excitement and pleasure, we learned to question every accomplishment and argued over who deserved an asterisk next to their name. 

The steroid era tainted the sport, and it stayed under a microscope as players retired and became Hall of Fame eligible. Of course, COVID taking the game away and an owners lockout taught us fans one thing: We need baseball, and we still love the game. 

Something has happened recently, and it has the baseball world buzzing and creating their own celebrations for various feats, accomplishments and positive plays.  

In 2022, the Baltimore Orioles started transcending the sport with a flash of young players and swaggy veterans. Adley Rutschman brought an old school flare to the game by meeting his pitchers at the end of an inning and walking together with them.

From there, Rutschman would hug the pitchers after the game was completed, showing a sportsmanship that the sport had been void of since the turn of the century. He was building a new identity for the Orioles, one they haven’t had in some time.

Rougned Odor helped introduce the Home Run Chain, bestowed upon a player after they would hit a home run. Suddenly, the team that had lost 110 games in three of the last four seasons was making the game fun.

The fun began to spread, and after one of the most exciting World Baseball Classics, the 2023 season of Major League Baseball was going to transform into a game that has fans of all ages having a blast.

The Orioles introduced the “Homer Hose” and the water sprinkler celebrations. When a player hits a home run, they drink water from a hose with a funnel affixed on the top. The sprinkler is performed after a player tallies an extra base hit, while those in the dugout spit water out of their mouth. And this has led to the newly opened Birdbath Splash Zone.

Other teams have followed with their own antics. The Mariners have a “Homer Trident,” and the Red Sox have inflatable dumbbells. Pittsburgh adopted the pirate sword and the Angels a samurai hat.

Regardless of who you are, the celebrations that are uniting teams and fans alike are making baseball electric. They are bringing a little swag to each team. With larger bases, pitch clocks and limited throw overs, the game has gotten faster, but with the added dugout celebrations, it’s become fun once again.

As an old school fan who resisted rule changes to the game I grew up watching, studying and playing, I will admit that the excitement is higher than it has been in a long time. As fans, I hope you can appreciate the aspect of fun and sportsmanship being brought into today’s game.

That’s not to say it’s all perfect, but at the end of the day, we want to see our team win, have fun doing it and keep the fans engaged. After all, when we can revert to having our inner child come out, how can we resist?

What do you think of the new era of baseball? Let us know in the comments below! Make sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook, Twitter and TikTok, and use the hashtag #baltimorebattery when sharing our content!

Like Stephen’s content? Follow him on Twitter – @SRJHeckman

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