Videos by OutKick
The Tampa Bay Rays are having fun playing baseball right now, and so is star shortstop Wander Franco.
And Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Bryan Reynolds may be one of the only people around the sport not enjoying it.
The Pirates were in Tampa to visit the Rays on Wednesday night, and with a five-run lead in the 7th inning, Wander Franco decided to have some fun.
Franco fielded a grounder hit by Reynolds and flipped the ball to himself before delivering a strike to first. Despite the extra flourish, Reynolds was still out by more than a step.
Reynolds was asked after the game if he noticed Franco’s defensive style, and he was evidently extremely unimpressed.
“I saw it,” Reynolds said. “It didn’t impress me.”
To be fair to Reynolds, it wasn’t the Pirates’ most aesthetically pleasing game. Pittsburgh fielding mistakes helped contribute to Tampa’s runaway 8-1 win, adding to their league best 25-6 record.
Reynolds Doesn’t Like Wander Franco Having Fun
It’s understandable to be frustrated after a loss, and there’s a school of thought that Franco’s extra sauce could be seen as showing up the Pirates.
But Major League Baseball has been working to incorporate more fun, excitement and personality into the game.
This clip of Franco twirling the baseball to himself has been widely shared and making highlight reels across the sports world.
That’s exactly what the league wants to see. Players having fun, showing off their skills, while still getting the job done.
Franco’s play may not be popular with the opposing team, and justifiably so. But basketball players frequently add style to dunks, for example.
What’s wrong with baseball players doing something similar?
Franco still got the out, quite easily, in fact. And when you’re the most valuable player on the best team in the league, why not have a little fun?