- Oregon running back LeGarrette Blount cold-cocks a Boise State player after a game (and winds up suspended for the season)
- Milwaukee Brewers slugger Prince Fielder orchestrates a choreographed home plate celebration after a walk-off homer (and ticks off everyone in a Giants uniform)
- Giants pitcher Brad Penny barks at Padres slugger Adrian Gonzalez for supposedly taking too long to admire a home run (and later admits he uses emotion to stoke his performance)
What's it all about? Emotion.
Playing sports is not like working a spreadsheet or building a cabinet. You have to play like you care. Paradoxically, you can't let your emotions get the best of you, but without emotion, you're pretty useless.
Most agree that Blount crossed the line with his punch (even if they think his punishment was too harsh). Many feel that Fielder was a bit clownish in turning a thrilling moment into a bit of goofy street theater. And Penny? Well, if he's on the other team, you can't stand him.
Penny freely acknowledges his outburst at Gonzalez and his shouts and gestures at the Padres dugout when the inning ended are part of what fuels him. For Brad Penny, it's adrenaline or nothing. By contrast, we've seen pitchers like Greg Maddux, whose demeanor never varied, no matter what.
Bottom line: you go with what works for you. But that emotion stuff can be dangerous; a little goes a long way. Too much, and you're in trouble.