If Chris Archer is going to be the arbiter of baseball etiquette, he maybe should cool it just a little bit.
The Tampa Bay Rays right-handed pitcher ruffled some feathers last season when he criticized Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz. After a slower than normal home run trot from Ortiz, Archer piped up by putting down Ortiz, claiming the DH’s ego was a little out of control.
“He feels like he’s bigger than the game,” Archer quipped last July after a game in which Ortiz smoked a three-run home run off the young righty.
Ortiz fired back upon learning of the comments, saying Archer only “has two days in the league,” and “(shouldn’t) be (expletive) and complaining about (expletive) like that.”
The two reportedly buried the hatchet over the winter, and everything is all well and good. That’s why it was a little bit curious to see Archer act like he did Tuesday night. He escaped a big jam in the fifth inning by striking out Ortiz. His celebration was, well, it was something else.
Archer brushed it off by saying he was just having fun.
“It’s a game, man, and you have to have fun,” Archer told reporters. “And showing emotion is part of having fun and playing a game. So I wasn’t going to hold back my excitement, and my teammates appreciate it.”
It might go without saying, but Archer comes off just a little bit hypocritical here. One year ago, Ortiz’s celebration — in arguably the slugger’s version of “having fun and playing a game” — was the mark of someone who thinks they’re bigger than the game, according to Archer. When Archer hops off the mound like a little kid and celebrates a fifth-inning strikeout in an April game, it’s just a guy having fun out there.
This isn’t to say that baseball players can’t have fun. It’s baseball, it should be fun. But at the same time, Archer can’t have it both ways.
Archer could be on his way to developing a reputation in baseball circles. One can’t imagine the Red Sox taking too kindly to his act, and Archer already was at the center of another little tiff earlier this season with Mark Buerhle and the Toronto Blue Jays.
As someone who’s apparently so mindful of reputations, you’d think Archer might want to control that.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images