Sean Doolittle: 'You can respect the game by having fun'

Chris Lingebach
June 11, 2019 - 1:53 pm

Dodgers infielder Max Muncy took Madison Bumgarner deep into McCovey Cove Sunday, hitting the ball so far he thought to stand there and watch it go.

Bumgarner, definitely cut from the 'old school' cloth of players who believe the only way to respect the game is by dropping the bat and running the bases, shouted at Muncy to do exactly that.

And just like that, Bumgarner and Muncy reignited the ongoing old school vs. new school argument that's ripped through the sport for the past decade.

"I'm pretty firmly in the camp of the new," Nationals closer Sean Doolittle said during his weekly 106.7 The Fan appearance, presented by Lindsay Volvo Cars of Alexandria.

"I like that flair. I like the energy that guys play with," he said. "Even in that case the other day, I didn't think that what Muncy did was at all egregious. It's pretty much his standard reaction to every home run that he's hit over the last two seasons. And also, I don't know if you saw where that ball went, but that landed in Oakland. That almost crossed the bay. He could have watched it for a lot longer."

That run from Muncy's solo shot was all the Dodgers would need in the 1-0 win. When asked what he shouted back at Bumgarner, Muncy recalled, "If you don't want me to watch the ball, you can go get it out of the ocean."

Bumgarner had more to offer after the game.

"I was going to say, 'The more I think about it, just let the kids play,'" Bumgarner said, quoting the MLB promotional campaign. "That's what everybody's saying. But... I can't." 

"They want to let everybody be themselves, then let me be myself," he later quipped. "That's me. I'd just as soon fight than walk or whatever. So just do your thing. I'll do mine."

"The old thought process is that you have to respect the game – right? – and act like you've been there before," Doolittle said. "But I think you can also show how much you respect the game, how much you appreciate the opportunity to play the game and how excited you are to help your team by having fun. I think that shows that you have an appreciation for this opportunity as well.

"Like you're not disrespecting the game. Like you love the game and you're enjoying playing it. I think it's weird that, especially in this particular situation too, there's only one year age difference between Bumgarner and Muncy."

Bumgarner, at 29 years of age, is the elder to Muncy, who's 28.

"But you're right," Doolittle continued. "Maybe it's more of like a philosophy about how to approach the game."

"As long as you don't do anything that's directed at the other player, right?" he said. "You're not making eye contact with him. You're not pointing at him. You're not celebrating at him or at the other team's dugout. Keep your eyes out of their dugout. I don't know. I think it's okay to have fun and show some character and some personality."

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