Baseball Oddities and Why America’s Pastime is getting its Swagger Back

Not sure if you have been paying attention to all the weird-ness, yes maybe a made up word but what else can I use to describe it, that has gone down this summer in Major League Baseball. The comradery and friendship among teammates is back and it seems like ball players are once again having a great time playing this game we all played as kids growing up.

Flashback a couple years ago, when the Texas Rangers made their improbable run to the World Series only to lose to San Francisco in 5 games, they introduced the Bear Claw and Antlers celebration to the world. This began at the beginning of the season, and though kept under wraps most of the season, the whole country took notice as their playoff ran began and eventually ended in the World Series.

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Nelson Cruz throwing up the Antlers after scoring a run during the playoffs in 2010

In short, the Bear Claw and Antlers were celebrations between teammates. The Bear Claw was a symbol of strength and power, primarily displayed when a player safely reached base. Even the fans would get in on the fun with pitchers during strikeouts. The Antlers were shown during displays of speed and agility, earned by stretching a base run into extra bases or by stealing a base. Even players in the field would be rewarded the Antlers by fans for a heads-up play on defense.

This kind of comradery is the excitement baseball needs. As with the Rangers in 2010, it can spark a cultural movement with the fans and therefore get them excited about their team. They even proceeded to tailor their giveaways during the playoffs towards this new identity which the nation was taking note of.

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The Texas Rangers Bear Claw & Antlers T-Shirts worn during the 2010 season and postseason

Also in 2010, the Tampa Bay Rays introduced the ‘BRayser’ jackets, worn during pregame activities and sometimes out on the road. While not tied into “baseball achievements,” the BRayser jackets sparked  new movement for the Rays. Heck, even LIDS came out with matching hats in 2011, to commemorate this new fad.

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The Tampa Bay Rays “BRaysers’ jackets on a home stand in 2010

The Rays not only took this fad onto the road, they actually proceeded to have themed road trips, wearing pajamas and most recently this year donning letterman sweaters on the road. Obviously these themed road trips are working because the last 2 seasons the Rays have made the playoffs, including last years incredible comeback to steal the wild card from the Boston Red Sox.

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Tampa Bay Rays wearing their Letterman’s on a road trip in 2011

Flash forward to 2012, the oddities have continued forward. Around Major League Baseball, teams are finding ways to stay loose and keep the fun.

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Hanley Ramirez while playing for Miami

Look to Los Angeles, where Hanley Ramirez brought his trademark “I See You” out west following his trade from the Miami Marlins. While playing for the Miami Marlins, Hanley would throw up his trademarked “I See You” after base hits, runs scored, and even home runs. Now that he has been traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, he has taken the “I see you” with him to Chavez Ravine. In his first taste of the bitter San Francisco/Los Angeles rivalry, Hanley hit the go-ahead home run in the 2nd game for his first home run as a Dodger, sinking the Giants hope and helped lead the Dodgers to a sweep in San Francisco.

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Hanley throwing up his trademark #ISeeYou

Finally, to Oakland where the Athletics have taken celebrations to a whole level along with their record. This summer, the Athletics have become one of baseball’s best stories, a team who was written off before the season started has surprised everyone by capturing the wild-card lead after an incredible July. Not just by playing great baseball, but the A’s have been winning close games in walk-off fashion, thus sparking great post-game celebrations. Whipped cream pies, gatorade dumps, and a new dance based off the movie Weekend at Bernie’s have taken the attention of many.

At first when the A’s were winning games few and far between this didn’t seem like much, just a young team happy to win and showing some youthful-ness. But now that they have played their way into contention, the A’s amazingly hilarious celebrations have taken center stage.

Employee’s at the O.Co Coliseum have even started preparing whipped cream pies in close late game situations for players like Josh Reddick, Brandon Inge, and Johnny Gomes, who are always the culprits behind any postgame celebrations. Lately, Reddick and Inge have also started a new craze among the Athletics, a dance based off the movie Weekend at Bernie’s II.

Not only is this dance hilarious, but it just begs the question, where do they come up with this stuff? It’s something that has brought baseball back into a good light, considering the last 10 years have been tumultuous with Steroid allegations and the rise of other sports, it is good to see the adults act like kids and show the fans that this game is just a game and that we should have fun.

Click the picture for the video.

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