Friday, February 24, 2012

Negotiation Nonverbal Communication # 1203:
Overcompensating Dominance Display

It is important to always interpret body language in context. This method of "holding one's bat" may be common in professional (or college, high school, etc.) baseball. However, the obvious phallic symbol is blatant, so over-the-top, one cannot simply say the behavior we see exhibited here is limited to just playing baseball. Men will use this and other nonverbal displays to suggest and project dominance - and have done so throughout human history (see below). In modern society - athletes in large measure, play the roles that warriors did in our more ancient cultures. If Ryan Braun or Prince Fielder posed this same way at the grocery store or anywhere else besides this narrow context, they would not be allotted the social latitude they enjoy on the baseball diamond. It is interesting to note that (with rare exception) women softball players don't position their bats in such a fashion.

Ryan Braun had tested extremely high for exogenous sources of testosterone last fall. However due to a chain-of-custody issue, a MLB arbitration panel overturned Braun's 50 day suspension. This is the first time a major league baseball player has successfully challenged a drug-related penalty.