The Chicago Cubs still have swag down 0-3. Javier Baez proved as much Tuesday after giving Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig a Dikembe Mutombo finger wag after tagging him out at second base.
This incident took place in the top of the ninth inning. Puig smacked a line drive single off the ivy out in left field. He wasn’t satisfied with that, however, and decided to test Kyle Schwarber’s defense by charging toward second. Schwarber played the ball perfectly off the wall, and fired a strike to Baez at second. Baez put down the tag, and then put an exclamation point on it with the finger wag.
We can already envision the traditionalists clutching their pearls in the comments. If that’s the case, they’ll be the only people who were upset by Baez’s actions. You’ll notice Puig wasn’t angry with Baez for the gesture. And you’ll notice Baez didn’t do it to be spiteful. Moments later, Puig made sure to stick out his tongue directly at the TBS camera while in the dugout, so he seemed to be handling it well.
The whole exchange serves as proof that it’s possible for spur-of-the-moment emotion to be shown on a baseball field without someone beaned for it. Imagine that.
We can also imagine some being mad Baez decided to do this with his team trailing 6-1 in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series. And our response to that would be … it’s not like it’s going to impact Baez’s play. He made a good tag and celebrated it. The baseball gods won’t curse him with an 0-for-4 day in Game 4. (He could do that on his own, but his future struggles won’t be due to some unwritten rule nonsense.)
Even the Cubs’ Twitter account had some fun with the moment:
When you're thinking about reading the mentions: pic.twitter.com/jQRCOe0Qb5
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) October 18, 2017
As that tweet acknowledges, the Cubs know the stakes. They know they are down 0-3. Baez is well-aware his team isn’t playing well right now.
But what are you going to do? The next time sulking solves a situation will be the first. If the Cubs pull off an incredible comeback, Baez will be credited for staying loose when the chips were down. If they get swept, well, at least they enjoyed the ride.
More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:
– – – – – – –