The 2015 baseball season is upon us, and while we here at The Renaissance Fan are fervent supporters of our National Pastime, we must admit that the game generally lacks a certain excitement, a certain panache, a certain je ne sais quoi. While the MLB will certainly yield dozens of highlights over the course of the 2,430 games to be played between now and September, it is easy to forget about them when fifteen innings of routine pop-ups come between every two robbed homeruns. The game is in desperate need of more sexiness and attitude, so it is distressing to us that the more conservative contingent of baseball fans have been outspoken in their opposition to the bat flip.
Much has been written and said about the practice of bat flipping since Toronto Blue Jay Jose Bautista hit a towering homerun in an American League Division Series game against the Rangers and punctuated the feat with, perhaps the most stupendously audacious bat flip in the history of the game.
Those who oppose bat flipping have dubbed the practice “thuggish”, deeming it a betrayal of baseball’s dignity and sportsmanship. Temporarily setting aside the usually inappropriate and frequently racist use of the term “thug” in sports, professional baseball has never been about dignity and sportsmanship. This is a sport in which coaches are expected to scream in the faces of the officials over questionable calls, catchers mutter insults in the ears of batters to psyche them out, base runners risk seriously injuring opposing fielders by sliding in high to break up double plays. Back to the word “thug”: let’s reserve that term for those pitchers who would intentionally hurl an 85 mph fastball at a batter’s head. The bat flip is harmless way for a player to celebrate one of the most difficult feats in sports.
There’s no reason a player should not celebrate hitting a homerun. When a player has hit a homerun he has done a very difficult job perfectly. This is cause for celebration. Typically, when the bat flip is performed, the batter is not staring down the pitcher, this is not an act of dominance, it’s a celebration of one’s own feat. Is the bat flip cocky? Absolutely. But baseball is America’s national pastime, and what’s more American than a little cockiness?
Another argument against bat flipping is that it is simply dumb baseball, a player should be running out the hit until he is sure that the ball has gone over the fence. This is undeniably true, but so what? Standing and watching the long ball is relatively risk-free since if the ball does not carry over the fence it will likely be fielded with ease by an outfielder. Still, in those cases when a batter has made the mistake of flipping the bat and watching the ball when he should be running, the results are delightful:
In short, the bat flip is brings a little bit of fun and excitement to a game that may need an injection of both. The Renaissance Fan urges Major League ball players present and future to indulge in a bit of swagger when they hit a round-tripper, and we urge fans to get into it.
With All Sincerity,
The Renaissance Fan Staff