Today is seems that people everywhere are celebrating Cinco de Mayo. This is the holiday that, of course, celebrates the Mexican army’s victory over the mighty French forces in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. More than any tactical advantage, the victory gave a morale boost to the Mexican Army. So, it is celebrated to this day.
Interestingly, according to Wikipedia at least (so it must be true), Cinco de Mayo isn’t such a big deal in Mexico. It’s almost to the point of being ignored. Sure, it’s officially observed, but there isn’t quite the fanfare that people might expect there to be.
Doesn’t that seem weird? America makes a much bigger deal out of a Mexican holiday than Mexico does. Some of that might be Mexican-Americans taking hold of an excuse to celebrate their homeland. Some of it might be beer companies and Mexican restaurants taking hold of an excuse to sell alcohol. But, whatever the reasons people come up with, it seems a little disjointed to celebrate someone else’s holiday more than they do.
Which brings us to Alex Rodriguez.
As you may have heard, or as some people tell it might not have heard, ARod hit his 660th home run at Fenway Friday night, tying Willie Mays. There was speculation entering the weekend as to how the Red Sox would celebrate the home run if it came during the series. When it did, the Red Sox made the logical choice to celebrate it with…crickets. (Actually, they celebrated it by doing nothing. But, how awesome would it have been if after the home run they actually played crickets chirping over the loudspeaker.)
Some people were surprised, and even angered by this. They couldn’t imagine that the Red Sox didn’t make a big deal about it. About a visiting player. Tying someone for fourth.
What makes this even weirder is the Yankees themselves. They aren’t celebrating it. In fact, they made a point of saying it wasn’t a moment to celebrate so that they don’t have to pay ARod his bonus money. So, his own team is going out of their way to say it’s not a big deal, but the Red Sox are supposed to set off fireworks?
Like Cinco de Mayo?
Now, I can understand some of the con fusion. Remember when Derek Jeter tied and passed Lou Gehrig on the all-time hits list? He was treated like a conquering hero when he moved into, like, 50th all-time in hits. But, at least that was setting a team record. Sure it was a team record lower than the team records for the Padres…and Reds…and Red Sox…and Royals…and Brewers. But, at least it was a team record. No, it didn’t deserve to lead SportsCenter…but it was a record. ARod didn’t set a team record. He’s still a couple handfuls away from Babe Ruth for that honor. He tied someone for fourth place. It’s not even like Willie Mays ever held the record. I could maybe see celebrating a former record holder. But, Mays isn’t one of those. So, why on earth would there be any sort of celebration from an opposing team? Every player who ever hits a home run ties someone on the career list. Are they supposed to celebrate those too? Are teams supposed to celebrate all accomplishments of other players? Even if the player’s own team doesn’t think it’s all that important?
Like Cinco de Mayo.