I like that the Orioles want to have fun playing a kids game, that they want to stay loose and express support for one another. I don’t like the way they have chosen to demonstrate that fun and support when it comes to the home run celebration.
It’s the homer hose that’s bothering me.
Starting pitcher Kyle Gibson described it in terms that should appeal to an old-timer like me. There’s a water theme to their power. They motion like a sprinkler on doubles and triples. On home runs, they drink from the “hose,” triggering memories of backyard Wiffle ball games when we would actually drink from a garden hose when I was a kid.
It sounds innocent, even nostalgic in its creativity.
Except it doesn’t remind me of drinking from a garden hose. The Orioles use an orange funnel to drink from a truncated hose designed by pitchers Cole Irvin and Keegan Akin.
It has the appearance of chugging beer, and it takes the hydration message to a place the Orioles should reconsider.
I’m biased in my objection. It was my grandfather who helped me develop my love of baseball. He would sit at his kitchen table, night after night, listening to Orioles games on the radio and drinking Carling Black Label. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized that alcohol had gained the upper hand in their relationship. Since then, I’ve witnessed its impact on a number of others vulnerable to its deceptive power.
That’s not to suggest that adults shouldn’t drink, and I appreciate commercials that at least caution consumers to drink responsibly. That’s why I’m having trouble viewing this new celebration in a positive light. Chugging beer — getting as much content into your system as quickly as possible — isn’t responsible drinking. It’s dangerous and damaging.
Irvin said the players aren’t encouraging alcohol abuse or binge drinking and discourage other names, such as beer bong, besides homer hose. Imitation, though, is the sincerest form of flattery, and the Orioles shouldn’t be sending a mixed message to their fans regardless of their intentions.
The Orioles are fun to watch, and easy to root for. The hydration idea is something they developed as a group in spring training. Hydration is healthy and much of what they’re doing is just good, clean fun that brings them closer together. The homer hose, though, suggests something else and should be turned off.