Simple Sportsmanship

You see it in football. You see it in basketball. You see it in hockey.

In all these sports, you see it all the time, routinely: at the end of a big game or a big series, the winning team and the losing team greet one another on the field/court/ice at the end of the game. They shake hands, they embrace, they congratulate one another, in warm and decent sportsmanship. It’s a gesture of simple, decent, mutual respect and humanity.

You never, ever see it in baseball.

Until Sunday night. When the St.Louis Cardinals defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers, 6-2, to wrap up their NLDS championship, the Dodgers dugout emptied onto the field – to greet and congratulate their foes.

I’ve been watching major league baseball for 40 years, and I have never, ever seen this. I heartily welcome it.

My wife and I have, for years, wished that some major league baseball team, sometime, would demonstrate the simple sportsmanship involved in the act of shaking the hands of opponents following a big game. For years we’ve been frustrated that it’s never happened, that the peculiar jock-macho culture of baseball stupidly prohibits it.

Sunday night’s game might, perhaps, represent the first drop of water over that silly dam. All honor and respect are due manager Jim Tracy and his Los Angeles Dodgers, who demonstrated basic, fundamental, profound sportsmanship.

May every baseball team follow in the Dodgers’ strong and sure footsteps. May the idiotic code of baseball decorum that has prevented opponents from shaking hands with one another following games be banished to the dustbin of history, where it has forever belonged.

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