COMMENTARY | There has been a decent amount of buzz as the free agency signing period opens that the New York Yankees and free-agent catcher Brian McCann, late of the Atlanta Braves, would be a good fit.
Here's why that might not be the case:
The Yankees allowed outfielder Nick Swisher to walk in free agency last winter. Love him or hate him, Swisher brought something to the Bronx that hadn't been there for a while. Swisher was a guy who could keep the clubhouse loose. He was fun-loving, seemed to enjoy being at the ballpark every day and could even make Alex Rodriguez laugh.
As far as McCann? Think of him as the Anti-Swish.
McCann is a big one for the unwritten protocols of the game. Most infamously, he helped trigger a late-September benches-clearing incident with the Milwaukee Brewers when he blocked Carlos Gomez at the plate ... after a home run.
Yep. Brian McCann, big and bad as he could be, blocked Gomez's path to the plate when Gomez was in a home-run trot. And why would he do such a silly thing?
Because Gomez violated one of the unwritten rules. He celebrated his home run too vigorously, too enthusiastically. He disrespected the Braves, the Brewers, the game of baseball, his mother and apple pies worldwide with his display of happiness over doing something good on a baseball diamond.
We just can't have that sort of thing. No, sirree. At least not in the eyes of Brian McCann, baseball cop.
Did Gomez have to bark after hitting his homer? Of course not. But there was a history there, the pitcher who served up the long ball, Paul Maholm, had twice drilled Gomez earlier in his career, once earlier in the 2013 season.
McCann also got into a feud with Miami Marlins rookie pitcher Jose Fernandez after Fernandez hit his first career home run. Fernandez showboated too much for McCann's liking and, because he apparently keeps his badge under his chest protector, there was Patrolman McCann on the scene to issue a stern warning to Fernandez for excessive fun while playing a game.
With apologies to McCann's on-the-field talents, which are considerable, is this really a guy you want to have to root for because he wears your favorite team's uniform? He seems like a guy way too caught up in the self-perceived importance of what he does.
Dude, it's baseball. It's not rocket science. It's not brain surgery. It's not even rocket surgery. It's baseball.
As Tom Selleck's delightful character Jack Elliot intoned in the 1992 film "Mr. Baseball," "Baseball's a game and games are supposed to be fun."
If Brian McCann wants to act like any opposing player celebrating a home run or other good play is some sort of a crime against humanity, he's just not a guy worth rooting for.
Phil Watson is a freelance commentator and journalist who covers the New York Yankees, Brooklyn Nets and New York Giants for the Yahoo Contributor Network. He is also editor of Golden Gate Sports and holds an editorial position at HoopsHabit.com.
- Sports & Recreation
- Brian McCann
- Nick Swisher
- Carlos Gomez