The standard insult for an old man is “get off my lawn,” but if Reggie Jackson was “the straw that stirs the drink,” would his be “get out of my drink?”
Whatever it may be, a player known as one of the most flamboyant of his time seems to have issue with some of these young whippersnappers out on the field today.
“I do admire the talent. Fernando Tatis, great admiration, but there’s a line that needs to be drawn, or a conversation that needs to be had,” Jackson said during an appearance on a show called 'Race in America: A Candid Conversation' on NBC Sports Bay Area. “I get your excitement. I get your enthusiasm. And there’s nothing wrong with that, nothing wrong with jumping and up and down and doing cheetah backflips when you hit a home run in the (World) Series. But there are times when you want to respect the pain of the opposition. And you want to have the class of being a great champion.”
Reggie was likely specifically referencing Tatis’ epic bat flip during the NL Division Series, the round in which his Padres were eliminated. Many see that kind of excitement as great for the game, but in Jackson’s eyes, there’s a difference between attracting attention for your success and shoving it in your opponents’ faces.
“I don’t like the over-exuberance. I don’t think that’s the way of showing your energy,” Jackson said. “I hit a home run, I ran around the bases, I had my own little style, if you will, but I didn’t linger. I styled and showed off and was a hot dog as good as anybody, but I didn’t point. I didn’t flip things up.”
The hallmark of his day, Reggie says.
The players that I admired and played against – Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Billy Williams, Ernie Banks, Gibson, Koufax, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra – there was the appreciation, the understanding and the gratefulness they had for the game,” Jackson said. “There was no better hot dog than Rickey Henderson, but he didn’t point at the opposition. He pointed at the sky. He pointed to himself. Did his own thing.”
Perhaps, in the eyes of Tatis Jr. and other young stars, what they’re doing is “their own thing?”
Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroWFAN