Baseball can be an incredibly frustrating sport, and sometimes players need to vent. In the most extreme cases, this leads to things like an enormous slugger beating the shit out of a bullpen phone, as seen in the video above.
To minimize the damage that these outbursts might cause, some MLB stadiums have built-in spots for venting. Milwaukee’s Miller Park and Atlanta’s Turner Field have punching bags in the visitors’ dugout. And at New York’s Citi Field there is a “stairwell that goes down and has a nice big space where there are some frustrations taken out once in a while,” said Mets Manager Terry Collins.
Braves outfielder Jeff Francoeur avoids the punching bags in favor of a release ritual that’s less physically demanding:
I go down the tunnel, find a wall and I just throw my bat. I don’t do anything else because I don’t want it to hurt. I just let it snap and then I’m good. It’s the bat’s fault, not my fault.
Some people may think these tirades are silly and immature. But realistically, certain players are going to have emotional outbursts regardless of their setting. It is better for those players to hit a punching bag than it is for them to punch the clubhouse wall and break their hand.
If you want to be patronizing, you could respond to these outbursts with questions like, “Do you feel better now?” But the reality is, some of these players might actually feel better after letting their stress out in this way. And this isn’t unique to pro baseball players. Sometimes breaking shit just feels good when you’re angry.