CLEVELAND -- White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson called the game “boring.” He said it needs to be changed.
The shortstop from the North Side didn’t go quite that far when asked about it Monday at the All-Star Game, but if anyone’s doing their part to change a “boring” game, it’s Javy Baez.
Cubs fans are well versed in the tags, the slides, the highlight-reel defensive plays and the clutch home runs, all of which come with a hefty dose of swag. When grilled about that style, Baez remained modest. He’s not necessarily out to change the game, like Anderson says he is.
But he’s doing it, one of the leading faces in the “let the kids play” movement.
“It’s fun to watch, man. I love watching him play ball,” Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Mike Moustakas said Monday. “He plays his heart out every single pitch, every single play. It’s just awesome to watch. He plays ball like he’s a kid and has a great time doing it.”
Yes, Baez has a lot of fans, even ones that play for the division-rival Brew Crew.
There’s a reason Major League Baseball made the game’s most energetic and emotional players the center of last postseason’s marketing campaign. Energy and emotion are fun.
Baez has been at the forefront of that movement, and while he didn’t want to talk about unwritten rules and whether or not the game needs changing, he was happy to say he’d like to see more players play with the same kind of emotion and be-yourself attitude that he does.
“I think a lot of guys are being themselves out there,” he said. “And that’s how we should be, and that’s part of the game. It’s a game. It’s always going to be a game. It’s always going to be business, too. But it’s a game first, so we’ve got to play and have fun.”
“It’s a kid’s game that we get to play. We get to go out and play baseball,” he said. “I think nowadays the game’s changed a lot, and I think it’s changing for the better. Going out there and seeing everybody have some emotion and being able to show it is pretty cool.”
Besides throwing a few compliments his way, Baez didn’t weigh in on the bat-flipping Anderson and the more direct opinions the South Side shortstop has shared this season in regards to the direction he feels the game needs to go.
“I don’t really follow it that much, but the things he’s done this year, it’s been really special for the White Sox,” he said. “Keep doing him. Obviously I don’t want to say he’s showing anybody up, but to keep being him and to play the game hard.”
So unlike the shortstop on the other side of town, the North Side shortstop -- the starter in Tuesday night’s All-Star Game -- has no stated mission to change the game. But he’s doing it anyway.
“I love watching him play,” Moustakas said.
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