Someone isn't too happy about the Los Angeles Dodgers using a bubble machine to celebrate home runs the past couple months.
In an odd turn of events that hasn't fully been explained by Major League Baseball, league authorities ordered the Dodgers to shut down the bubble machine in their dugout on Tuesday — the word coming from the team's ex-manager turned MLB suit Joe Torre. Then on Wednesday, the bubble machine was flowing again without clarification from MLB about what had changed.
It doesn't make much sense, particularly in MLB where teams and players are generally allowed to celebrate much more liberally than in, say, the NFL. All sorts of odd celebrations are adopted throughout the long baseball season. The Dodgers just happened to choose a bubble machine that they station in their dugout and turn on whenever someone hits a homer. Big deal.
Bill Shaikin from the L.A. Times explains the hubbub:
Before Tuesday's game against the Angels at Dodger Stadium, Joe Torre, Major League Baseball executive vice president, advised the Dodgers to stop using the machine. That word did not get to all the players, or to the video crew. When Juan Uribe hit a home run in the second inning, the Dodger Stadium video board flashed an image with the words "Bubble Machine."
As Uribe trotted around the bases, the players gathered for the dugout celebration. Uribe danced with Hanley Ramirez, but the bubble machine was conspicuous in its absence.
"My initial thought was, somebody forgot," catcher A.J. Ellis said.
"I thought the batteries were out," outfielder Andre Ethier said, "or we ran out of bubble solution."
The bubble machine was back Wednesday, at Angel Stadium. When Matt Kemp hit a home run in the second inning, the dugout welcome again included soap bubbles floating above the head of the hero.
Did the Dodgers negotiate a compromise with MLB, or did they unilaterally decide to bring back the bubble machine?
That last part? Nobody in charge is saying. MLB "respectfully declined comment" to The Times. Meanwhile, Dodgers players say they haven't heard opponents complain about the bubble machine.
"No one has ever mentioned the bubbles," Ellis said. "Everybody has their own way to celebrate a home run. Ours includes a prop. So does Milwaukee, a guy sliding down a slide. So does New York, with a big apple popping up in center field. So many teams are firing off fireworks. It's fun for the fans. It's a little innocent thing. This game is serious enough as it is. We get criticized enough for being stoic."
Baseball is a game where showing up ones' opponent is becoming an ever-increasingly touchy subject, but Ellis is right. This is innocent — and silly. And for any other team to get upset and complain about it is even more silly. For the league to feel like it has to preemptively stop any bubble-machine beef is most silly.
This seems like a moment where it would be fitting to channel Allen Iverson's "practice" rant:
"We in here talking about bubbles. I mean, listen, we're talking about bubbles."
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