Washington Nationals: Juan Soto is taking “having fun” to a new level
Major League Baseball is pushing to get faster, younger, louder, and is all for its players having a little fun while they are at it. Bat flips are flying nightly, pitchers are brandishing imaginary swords (ironically no Pittsburgh Pirates pitchers) and there is never a shortage of flash on the field. This is especially true for Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto.
He has carried a bat to first base with him, because it was fun. He has stared down a pitcher on a home run he hit, because it was fun. He shimmies and shakes while nodding and adjusting himself after nearly every close pitch, because he’s just having fun.
Nationals outfielder Juan Soto adds a little flavor to his most recent shuffle.
There was a skit on the Chappelle Show where Dave Chappelle introduced the shenanigans from the And 1 basketball playing into other sports. Watch the first minute of this, and tell me you can’t see Juan Soto pulling something close to it in the near future. This skit is the first thing which came to mind when I saw the improvised Soto Shuffle in game one of the Tampa Bay Rays series.
The stare down of Zack Wheeler by Soto a week ago drew plenty of ire from Phillies fans. Soto, who had just mashed his third home run in four games, was breaking a 1-1 tie in a highly publicized pitcher’s dual between Wheeler and Max Scherzer. The moment was similar to his bat carry to first base when he jacked the home run, on the road, in a key situation in the World Series. High intensity. Pressure packed. Adrenaline rushing.
Soto’s reaction was warranted in both scenarios. He is an up and coming player who is putting his fingerprints on the game, both in style and in statistic.
His reaction to the Tyler Glasnow pitch (which missed the strike zone by a foot) was a little much. Maybe if the ball was closer and Soto was shimmying to show how good an eye he had, this could pass. Though that may seem like he was showing up the umpire, so better not. What’s there to shimmy about with a ball so low, on a 1-2 count to boot.
As Juan Soto continues to have fun with the game, would be good if the Nationals could win a few and make the games fun for the fans.