Stroman celebration reopens baseball’s culture clash

MLB insider Jon Paul Morosi says Marcus Stroman is a phenomenal entertainer who loves to express himself, and is getting the job done, if you don’t like it, then have success against him.

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Thanks to the three months Ben Revere spent with the Toronto Blue Jays during the memorable 2015 season, the speedy outfielder knew better than to take any of Marcus Stroman’s post-victory celebrations personally. His Los Angeles Angels teammates, on the other hand, well, “some guys were upset, they were real upset for his antics after the game.”

“A lot of guys didn’t like what he did after the game, but from me knowing him myself, he’s the type of guy that gets fired up, a lot,” Revere said Monday. “He was probably pumped to throw a complete game and he did a great job against our hitters, but some people got different opinions.

“Some guys during the game are very emotional, some people don’t like it and don’t take it into consideration. For me, it’s all about he pitched one heck of a game against us and hopefully we’d come out with a victory but he got our number yesterday. I got nothing against him, he performed well.”

Stroman’s emotional mound-hopping, chest-slapping, primal scream celebration after his complete-game gem in Sunday’s 6-2 win reopened baseball’s ongoing clash between its stoic, buttoned-up traditions and an emotive, look-at-me generation of players who think it’s cool to get their swag on.

Albert Pujols was among the Angels most unimpressed, glaring out from the dugout afterwards, and Stroman later told reporters he planned to get in touch with the superstar to clear the air. On Monday, Stroman declined an interview request through a team spokesman, while Pujols a group of reporters he didn’t want to discuss the matter, but later told Sportsnet’s Arash Madani that, “we’re cool, man.”

Stroman has often said in the past he doesn’t mean to disrespect opponents with his antics on the mound, and that they’re simply a by-product of the emotional energy that fuels him.

No dissing intended.

Still, veteran catcher Russell Martin raised the issue with Stroman afterwards, and said Monday that, “you do things out of emotion, the key is you want to stay as professional as you can. Talked to Stro about it, as long as we’re doing it to celebrate ourselves, it’s fine.”

Later, Martin added, “I don’t know exactly what motivates him, but whatever it is, I like it. As long he keeps that same intensity and same drive, I’ll take him every fifth day for as long as possible.”

Manager John Gibbons made a similar point, describing Stroman as “an animated guy,” and “that probably ain’t going to change.”

“He’s better when he does it,” added Gibbons. “If you’re that guy, you live with the repercussions of how people view you.”

Gibbons also noted that the game’s culture is changing, with many of the celebrations on the mound and admiration of home runs by hitters becoming increasingly acceptable.

“So many guys with bat flips, everybody’s doing that, everybody comes out fist pumping and all that,” said Gibbons. “A big part of that, too, is fans drive that. In this generation, people love that. You look at the internet, what everybody’s doing. It’s show business. We’re in the entertainment business. You just live with it now. If there’s something happens I don’t like, I’ll bring that up.”

Revere said some of his Angels teammates asked what Stroman’s deal was and noted that “some people take confidence as cockiness.” He remembers experiencing the Blue Jays’ confidence first-hand upon joining the Blue Jays in 2015 at the trade deadline and realizing the people in the locker-room were much different than what he saw on the field.

“That (Jose Bautista) bat flip was the bat flip heard around the world, I got people telling me about it ‘til this day, some people thought it was amazing, some people think it’s a disgrace to baseball,” said Revere. “It’s just different people’s opinions. As a teammate I thought it was awesome. If I was with Texas that day, I’d be like, dang, that bat flip was serious, I’d probably want to get mad just because of the outcome of the game. If I was the pitcher I’d probably be a little ticked off, but that’s the way the baller game goes.

“Most of the people when they play with them say he’s a really good person or a really good guy to me, so I really can’t say nothing bad. Every single one of those guys on the Blue Jays, especially Stroman, was a good guy to me. Watching him pitch, he’s a good guy. No one liked what he did (Sunday) but it was more of him just being fired up.”

Something he has every right to be, and something that also, at times, may leave him needing to deal with consequences.

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