In this New York Times piece about Francisco Cervelli, you find Cervelli justifying his over-the-top on-field antics by playing the culture card and essentially saying “it’s the way the game is played in Latin America”.
What’s lost in the self-righteousness is that Cervelli took exception to the way John Lackey retaliated for Cervelli’s in-your-face celebration by dispensing the type of Texas justice that Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens, Josh Beckett and any host of other players from the Lone Star State would have.
So it’s okay for Cervelli to express himself on the field in such an overt way because of his Italian heritage and Venezuelan upbringing, but not okay for Lackey to go back to his own formative years in how to play the game and conduct oneself appropriately and drill Cervelli in the back?
David Ortiz is quoted as agreeing with Cervelli as to the Latin emotionality sometimes coming out at inopportune moments, moments that may offend the opposition; but it’s not mentioned that Ortiz is a star player with the numbers and accomplishments to back up his bat flipping and other gestures that tend to annoy opponents and Francisco Cervelli is Francisco Cervelli.
Cervelli’s lucky to be in the big leagues; isn’t particularly good at anything; and for a backup catcher, he draws an awful lot of attention to himself the few times he does play. The only way he’s going to get a featured article about himself in the New York Times is when he almost starts a fight for dishing it out and not being able to take it.
Either accept the punishment for playing with a Latin flavor and run the risk of getting popped in the back, or knock it off.
Cervelli can do one or the other, but he can’t do both.