Many players, fans, and members of the media have taken an anti-bat flip stance, calling it a “disgrace” and “disrespectful” in Major League Baseball.
By Christian Kouroupakis
Former New York Yankee, Goose Gossage, was the latest to voice his disgust about the bat flip trend. He called out Toronto Blue Jays’ slugger Jose Bautista and New York Mets‘ outfielder Yoenis Cespedes in regards to the beautiful image of a bat flip.
I’m sorry Goose, but your comments are far more disrespectful than the bat flip.
It’s also pretty funny how he complained about the “nerds” of the game ruining baseball in regards to pitching inside. Without a doubt, he’d throw a 95 mile an hour fastball right at Bautista’s head the next time he was up, putting his life at risk.
But no, flipping a bat is disrespectful (insert sarcasm).
Let’s go back in time and take a look at the night Bautista infamously flipped his bat.
Game 5 of the American League Division Series between the Texas Rangers and Blue Jays at the Rogers Center was an emotional roller coaster. The game was going steady until all hell broke loose in the 53-minute seventh inning.
In the top of the inning, Rougned Odor scored the go-ahead run for the Rangers with two outs when Blue Jays catcher, Russell Martin’s throwback to the mound hit Shin-Soo Choo’s bat, and the ball rolled up the third base line. While the ball was rolling, Odor sprinted home giving Texas a 3-2 lead.
Despite the call being correct, fans then began to throw trash on the field in protest.
In the bottom of the inning, the Rangers committed three errors on three consecutive plays to help Toronto tie the score. Then, Bautista hit a clutch three-run homer, followed by the dramatic bat flip, giving the Jays 6-3 lead.
— MLB (@MLB) October 14, 2015
To make the inning even crazier, the benches cleared twice.
Despite the incredible game that left millions speechless, the talk of the day (and still to this day) was about Bautista’s bat flip.
What’s the problem?
The man hit the biggest home run of his life, in fact he crushed it, and he threw the bat and admired it until it fell into the stands. It was epic, and neat to watch as a baseball fan.
You’re going to call a player that spent the beginning of his frustrating career with four different organizations before finding a home in Toronto has no respect for the game? Easy there. Bautista went from nobody to superstar and all he did was grind and wait for his opportunity.
Yes, there are times where holding in your emotion is more appropriate than expressing it, but given the context of Bautista’s home run, and the type of game that was being played, the bat flip is 100% appropriate. It’s sickening to hear people say that a big league ballplayer expressing human emotion after doing something that stimulates human emotion, is “disrespectful.”
Whether you like it or not, Bautista’s bat flip was incredible. It demonstrated (to perfection) the vibe of what was happening at the Rogers Centre.
Next time, should he round the bases looking at the ground, arms at his side, as if he is about to be punished for hitting a home run in such an emotionally charged atmosphere?
No. Under the circumstances, in the postseason, and in this modern age of baseball, any type of celebration is acceptable.
Want any other reason why the bat flip is OK? It gets people watching baseball. All over Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and even Vine you could still view replays of Bautista’s bat flip. The league itself is promoting the maneuver and here’s a message to those of you who say it’s a disgrace: baseball does not value your opinion, and that won’t change.
Baseball is decades behind Basketball and Football. We can all agree these sports bring in a wider, younger audience. Commissioner Rob Manfred said himself how he wants to get the young generation to love baseball. Handshakes, high fives, and a little fist pump just won’t do it for the younger audience of baseball.
Theatrics is necessary if Manfred wants to wheel in a larger audience. Theatrics sells, and Major League Baseball realizes this, deeming the bat flip to be acceptable. This will all be completely normal in years from now if people, like Gossage, will stop taking offense.
The bat flip doesn’t hurt anyone, except when pitchers, who have their feelings hurt, take offense to being “showed up” and then proceed to throw at the head of batters. Are we going to sit hear and call that justification for something as meaningless as throwing a piece of wood in the air, out of harms way.
Welcome to 2016, baseball fans. The bat flip is not disrespecting the beloved game of baseball, it’s helping us go to the next level whether you like it or not.