Major league baseball is back.
Yes, the new season is underway, but some new rules implemented ahead of the 2023 season have sparked a comeback for the MLB. Game times are down, ratings are up, and there is more genuine excitement about baseball than in years past.
Something else to be excited about with the return of baseball?
New dugout celebrations.
From inflatable dumbbells to Samurai helmets and more, here are some of the best celebrations from the young season.
The Pittsburgh Pirates’ home run sword
Something could be happening in Pittsburgh. The Pirates are 7-5 through their first 12 games of the season, just a game behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central. Sure, it is extremely early in the season, but moments like Ji Hwan Bae’s walk-off home run against the Houston Astros from a few nights ago make it seem like something special is happening with the Pirates:
What else is special?
Their home run sword.
That’s right, the Pirates are leaning into their name, and showcasing a sword this season:
As you might expect, every celebration has an origin story, and here’s Pittsburgh’s:
The Los Angeles Angels’ Samurai helmet
Thanks to Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, the Angels remain one of the most fascinating teams to watch. If only to keep up with our Unofficial ‘Tungsten Arm’ O’Doyle Tracker.
Another reason to watch Los Angeles this season?
Their Samurai Warrior helmet:
Ohtani reportedly picked out the helmet, and got to wear it recently:
The Cincinnati Reds’ Viking tribute
Anyone who has followed my work for any bit of time knows my fondness for Viking lore. I am currently on yet another playthrough of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, just so I can run around and channel my inner Ragnar Lothbrok.
Well, the Cincinnati Reds are taking that a step further, with a Viking-inspired celebration:
A robe and a helmet? Inspired. Just try and avoid any Blood Eagle-inspired celebrations.
Just, please do not Google that near any meal times, and do not research that while at work. You have been warned, friends.
Boston’s inflatable dumbbells
Sometimes the best celebrations honor a teammate. That is the situation playing out with the Red Sox this season. Last year’s laundry cart celebration? That is yesterday’s news.
Instead, the Red Sox are rocking some inflatable dumbbells this year, with good reason:
The dumbbells are in honor of new teammate Masataka Yoshida, whose nickname is Macho Man. During his playing days in Japan with the Orix Buffaloes, Yoshida used “Macho Man” by the Village People as his walk-up music, and dumbbells were featured on video screens:
There are even some tribute videos for Yoshida set to “Macho Man.”
Inflatable dumbbells were even part of Boston’s pitch to Yoshida during free agency.
Now they are part of dugout celebrations.
Sure, this might be a little on-the-nose, but the Brewers celebrating home runs with cheeseheads is too perfect not to mention:
The slice of bright yellow foam worn on the heads of Wisconsin sports fans often signifies a Packer backer, but the Cheesehead actually made its debut at a Brewers game.
The legend of the Cheesehead began in 1987 when Ralph Bruno was supposed to help his mother reupholster a couch at her south side Milwaukee home. When he took apart the couch, he took out the foam inside and thought it looked like cheese.
He took that foam, cut it into a triangle and burned holes into it. He spray-painted it yellow, and the first Cheesehead was born.
Little did Bruno know that his moment of inspiration would spawn not just a legendary piece of fandom, but also a home run celebration decades later.
The Atlanta Braves’ BIG HATS
Ever since Washington Commanders running back Brian Robinson appeared in the locker room this fall wearing a big hat, the world has changed.
Big hats have shown up in the months since in a variety of places. We saw Jalen Carter wearing them at the end of the season, Joe Milton wearing one after leading Tennessee to an Orange Bowl win, and they’ve even popped up trackside at F1 races.
They’ve now made it to the dugout in Atlanta:
As our own James Dator wrote after Robinson first showed up with the BIG HAT, it’s a BIG HAT world and we’re all living in it.
Including the Atlanta Braves.
Whatever is happening in Baltimore
As much as it pains me to say this as a Red Sox fan, but something magical could be happening with the Baltimore Orioles this season, and beyond.
The Orioles are 6-6 in the early season, a game ahead of Boston in the AL East and six games behind the 12-0 Tampa Bay Rays. But the future looks bright in Birdland. Baltimore has a ton of young talent, in players like Adley Rutschman, Grayson Rodriguez, and Gunnar Henderson. Rodriguez quickly worked his way through the Orioles’ farm system to join the team this year, while both Rutschman and Henderson saw extensive time with the big club a season ago.
But forget what is happening on the field.
We need to talk about the celebrations.
First is the “sprinkler” celebration, shown here on a double by Austin Hays:
That alone could is enough to make this list. But wait! There’s more.
As in, a Dong Bong.
The Orioles are using some different names for this celebration, such as the “Hydration Station” or the “Homer Hose.” But friends, that is a Dong Bong, and in my mind, it will always be a Dong Bong.
And it is glorious.
The Mariners’ Trident
As mentioned, we will be updating this throughout the season if and when new celebrations appear.
And we are glad we decided to keep this a living post because … THE MARINERS HAVE A HOME RUN TRIDENT
See, we were not kidding. And it is certainly all-caps worthy. Look at this trident in all its glory: