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"If there was postgame handshakes, you'd see some fights out there."

August 16, 2017 05:07AM
Luke Gregerson learned a life lesson in Authentic Dennis Maruk Womens Jersey Little League that's still etched in his memory. Growing up outside of Chicago, the Houston Astros reliever recalls playing in an All-Star game his team lost. Crushed, he went through the handshake line afterward with his head -- and his hands -- down. "I walked off the field and my dad was so mad at me," Gregerson says. "He grabbed me and said, 'You will never act like that ever again.' He told me I'd never play baseball again if I did something like that." Twenty years later, Gregerson has made something of a liar out of his father: Every single day, he plays baseball, and every single day, he doesn't shake hands with his opponents. Gregerson's story is hardly unique. Talk to any MLB player, and they'll tell you that they remember doing the postgame handshake back in Little League. They remember doing it in high school. Those who played in college remember doing it on Sunday at the end of a series. But once they got to the pros, it all went away. Whether you're drafted at age 18 or 22 or somewhere in between, once you start getting paid to play a kid's game, it suddenly Brandon Saad Womens Jersey stops looking like a kid's game. Even at the very lowest levels of the minor leagues, the postgame handshake goes poof. But when the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals face off Sunday in the first ever MLB Little League Classic, they might make history. Not because they're playing a regular-season game at a tiny stadium in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, in front of a bunch of kids (although that is pretty unprecedented), but because it might be the first time two major league teams actually line up and shake hands after a game. ANYONE WHO HAS EVER played in a Little League baseball game, or coached or attended one, knows that shaking hands with the other team immediately afterward is standard operating procedure. The ice cream truck can wait. Ditto for the postgame pep talk. And the running around the bases. All of it takes a back seat to sportsmanship. According to Little League International, there is no hard-and-fast rule mandating that opposing teams shake hands following each contest. But there is photographic evidence of the postgame shake at the Little League World Series dating back to the late 1940s. "Little League is about fun, and teaching respect," says Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop, who shook it out at the 2004 LLWS as part of Curacao's championship squad. To be sure, there's no shortage of plausible explanations as to why the shake gets shunned in pro baseball. Unlike in the amateur ranks, professional contests are played in cavernous stadiums where guys can be scattered anywhere from the bullpen to the clubhouse when the final out is recorded, making the postgame lineup a logistical nightmare. Unlike in the NFL, in which athletes tend to meet in the middle of the field following their one game a week, baseball Authentic Mikkel Boedker Womens Jersey players do battle every day and simply can't be bothered. Unlike in the NBA, in which it's not abnormal to shake hands after the final buzzer, MLB teams are forced to face the same team three or four times in a row. And yet guys on the winning side have no problem shaking hands with their own teammates over and over, as MLB's self-congratulatory code dictates. Victory after victory, that never loses its meaning. Even to a playoff team that wins 90-plus games over the course of six months, plus a few more in the postseason, the intrasquad squeeze never seems to get old. Maybe the absence of the postgame handshake isn't so much about losing its meaning as it is about simply losing. "The last thing you want," Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison says, "is to be going through an 0-for-15 struggle and a guy just struck you out three times and he's like, 'Yeah, I got you.' That's the last thing you want to hear at that point." Says Wainwright: "The guy who gave up the lead or blew the save or lost the game, he doesn't want to stick around and shake hands." Of course he doesn't. Just like Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson probably didn't want to stick around and shake hands after allowing a double-overtime score in Game 7 of this year's Eastern Conference finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins. But he did. Because sportsmanship. Unfortunately, that particular brand of decorum has no place on the diamond. "The best part of baseball is not shaking hands," Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder A.J. Pollock says. "It drives me crazy when I see it in football. A team gets their butt kicked and you see guys laughing afterward. We play 162 games. I love the fact that when the game is over, win or lose, you go right to the clubhouse. When you get to this level, it has nothing to do with sportsmanship."

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