OPINION: Bat Flips Are Here To Stay, Embrace & Enjoy Them
Last week, the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig found himself in hot water after throwing his bat into oblivion after breaking open a meaningless game against the New York Mets. It wasn’t a particularly important game and the home run wasn’t very important to Puig, personally. And yet, his bat was thrown into the air and he meandered around the field admiring his work, taking 32.1 seconds to round the bases – the longest home run trot of 2017 so far.
Mets players Wilmer Flores, Jose Reyes, and Yoenis Cepsedes all took exception to Puig’s showboating and all three gave him a talking to. He also exchanged words with Travis d’Arnaud. It was an embarrassing episode for the Mets and everyone in baseball who thought Puig’s toss was insulting because ultimately, it made no difference whatsoever.
It’s about time we not only accept the bat-flip as part of baseball (even in meaningless situations) but we learn to enjoy it and understand it.
Bat-flips add character. Everyone knows that baseball games can be long and boring. For the most part, the best players in all of the sport play the game in a very “traditional” way and for casual fans, of which, there are plenty, this style of play may be perceived as a bore. Add a little bat-flip, a little skip around the bases, suddenly, those fans see a character, a personality, someone to invest in.
Bat-flips create tension. If an opposing player tosses his bat into the air to further define the damage he has already done to your team, it is understandable that you may want to exact revenge. So do it. Unless the bat-flip is a result of a walk-off home run, the opposing team will have a chance to respond. Hit a home run of your own, give your own bat a little flip, start a rivalry, start a competition.
Bat-flips are self-regulating. Videos have surfaced in the past of high school and college players getting a little too excited after making good contact with a ball they send towards the outfield. They flip their bat and turn to their bench, cheering themselves all the way, not realizing that they haven’t hit the ball out. This situation never ends well. Either the player only makes it to first, or he gets thrown out on his way to second or third trying to redeem himself. Anyone who makes this type of mistake will most likely never make it again. If bat-flips become the norm, players will become conscious of this potential mistake and will be sure not to make it.
Enjoying a bat-flip is – and I can’t believe I’m saying this – the key to baseball’s future. It is the corner stone on which a social media, family friendly, exciting new baseball will be built in the 21st century. Baseball, because of its reliance on skill over athleticism, will always remain a technical sport reliant on traditional play and statistics. But statistics don’t look cool in a six second video on Instagram and no one jumps up and down after someone fields a routine ground ball.
But a bat-flip can go viral. A bat-flip can hype up an entire stadium of 40,000 fans, even fans of the opposing team. The bat-flip is here and here to stay. Learn to enjoy it.