Blue Jays: Jose Bautista vs. Carlos Correa- Home run celebrations

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 14: Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jays watches his three-run home run in the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers in game five of the American League Division Series at Rogers Centre on October 14, 2015 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 14: Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jays watches his three-run home run in the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers in game five of the American League Division Series at Rogers Centre on October 14, 2015 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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Carlos Correa hit a huge playoff home run on the weekend, and celebrated in a way that we haven’t seen since Jose Bautista in 2015.

Baseball is evolving at a pretty rapid pace, from everything to an increased focus on analytics, pitchers throwing harder than ever, and home runs flying out of ballparks at a record pace. It’s a pretty traditional game, but things are evolving just as pretty much anything will eventually.

Part of that evolution is in the attitude of baseball fans, especially when it comes to some of the “unwritten” rules of baseball. Tradition and respect will always be important between the lines, and that will never go away for “America’s past time”, but I noticed a big difference over the weekend from even just a few years ago.

What I’m referring to specifically was the gigantic home run that was hit by Carlos Correa of the Astros to tie the ALCS up at 1-1 with the Yankees. The extra-inning bomb arguably saved the Astros chances against the Yankees in the series, and it was a moment worthy of celebration, especially for the home crowd in Houston. Correa took full advantage as well, stopping to admire his home run, discarding his bat in a “mic drop” fashion, and putting his hand to his ear to get the crowd to cheer even louder. To cap things off, he shot his helmet into a crowd of teammates around home plate as if it were a basketball, finally touching home plate to tie the series.

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Personally, I have no problem with the way that Correa celebrated the big moment, just as I had no problem with Jose Bautista‘s epic bat flip in 2015. I’ll be the first to admit that I am more than a little bias when it comes to the Bautista moment, but I feel pretty much the same way about Correa’s celebration as I did when Bautista had the biggest moment of his MLB career. I can’t imagine what I would do with the euphoria of delivering in that big of a moment.

I say, celebrate to your heart’s content, as long as you’re not directly rubbing anything in your opponent’s faces. Everyone should be expected to be a “good sport” at the highest level of baseball, but it would be ridiculous if people begrudged Correa for enjoying a career-defining moment. And from what I’ve noticed on social media and even in the press, very few seem to hold it against him.

Things were a lot different just four years ago when Bautista flipped his bat against the Rangers, and they took exception to the point where it carried over into the next season. Heck, that feud would likely still be going on now if Bautista were still playing. It was viewed by many fans, writers, and even some fellow big leaguers as a sign of disrespect, even if it wasn’t meant that way. Fast forward four years later, and it’s hard to find anyone criticizing Correa for indulging in his big moment.

Maybe people are starting to get more used to this sort of thing in the big leagues, as more boisterous celebrations are becoming a little more common these days. Maybe it was because Correa is a more universally likeable figure than Bautista was while in Toronto, even if the Blue Jays’ fan base loved him.

Maybe it was the fact that Correa dedicated his home run to a young man dying of cancer who he visited in the hospital last week, a story that has quickly and deservedly circulated and overwhelmed any negative discussion about the big home run. I’ll admit, I started out wanting to write about why I think Bautista’s home run was a bigger playoff moment, but after reading more details about the Correa story, I didn’t want to go there with the whole thing and maybe that’s part of why he’s getting a pass as well.

Whatever the case, it seems to me that things are evolving with the game of baseball, including around what is and isn’t allowed according to either the actual rulebook, or the written one. Don’t be surprised if the Correa highlight is used as a prime promotional tool for many years by the league, just as Bautista’s has, especially in Canada.

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And if are a Blue Jays’ fan who also happens to be the old school type to hate on what we saw from Correa on the weekend, there was still one reason for us all to enjoy it. The blast walked off the Yankees, and that’s reason for us all to celebrate.

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