Videos by OutKick
West Virginia baseball pitcher Blaine Traxel is not only one of the most dominant aces in the country, he’s having a lot of fun along the way. However, the NCAA deemed that he had too much fun, and that his antics put other players at risk of danger, even though they didn’t.
A large part of the allure of college baseball stems from the amount of shenanigans around the game. While dingers and strikeouts are great, it’s the hilarity that ensues on crazy plays, in the dugout, and in the stands that really makes the sport great.
Take last year’s Tennessee team for example. The Volunteers played extremely loud, with just a sprinkle of cockiness, and became the villains of college baseball, which helped to grow the game.
They were not the only one to do so. Home run props popped up across the country, from stuffed pandas to sledgehammers.
Unfortunately, where everyone else saw the props as fun, the NCAA saw the antics as problematic. College sports’ governing body turned around and implemented a rule during the offseason that does not allow props to be used outside of the dugout.
College baseball was made less fun.
That is where we pick things up on Sunday afternoon.
West Virginia closed out its series win over Oklahoma with a 9-3 victory. Traxel, who has thrown five complete games this season, was off for the day and in the dugout.
When one of his Mountaineers teammates hit a solo home run to go up 7-0 in the fourth inning, the fifth-year righty got silly in celebration. Traxel put on a catcher’s mask, and donned a cone atop his head as he ran up and down the first-base-line.
Well, he used a prop outside of the dugout. Traxel was ejected from the game and did not go quietly!
Rules are rules. Traxel broke the rules, if you consider a cone a prop, I guess.
His ejection was by the rules. That’s fine. That’s not the problem.
But — with that being said — should Traxel’s cone-head celebration warrant an ejection by the rules of college baseball? No. It should not. The rules are super lame.
Let the boys play! Let fun be had!