Jose Bautista discusses his infamous bat flip
November 11, 2015 4:22 AM   Subscribe

Are you flippping kidding me? Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays pens an essay that begins "Let me take you inside my head for a second" and brings us through his thoughts in Game5 of the ALDS against Texas and his now (in)famous home run and bat flip. posted by biggreenplant (94 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
You may have to explain this. What is a bat flip?
posted by Major Tom at 4:32 AM on November 11, 2015


Never mind the bat flip. What's with all the spanking?
posted by popcassady at 4:42 AM on November 11, 2015


Since "infamous" refers to things that are not awesome, it cannot properly be applied to Bautista's bat flip.
posted by escabeche at 4:44 AM on November 11, 2015 [18 favorites]


"See it and hit it."

I love when athletes drop the cliches and BS and distill the game down to its core ingredients.
posted by srboisvert at 4:55 AM on November 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Little known fact: Every MLB player going up to bat holds a handful of uncracked pistachios between their buttcheeks. During a swing, a player generates enough, clenching force to crack most of the pistacios open. The reason there are 3 strikes before you are out is that ensures the maximum number of pistachios will be cracked open. Likewise, running for a single or double will usually be enough to crack the remainder - even if the batter gets a hit on his first swing. The problem of course is when a player manages to hit a home run, then they saunter around the bases, there really isn't a lot of pistachio cracking in that case. Hence, the other players are all helping Bautista get his pistachios appropriately opened.

I know it sounds awfully weird, but it is the major leagues and they have some very long standing traditions.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:56 AM on November 11, 2015 [19 favorites]


Well said. If the Twins secure Byung-ho Park I hope he brings some flips.
posted by starman at 5:15 AM on November 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


You may have to explain this. What is a bat flip?

After a baseball player hits a home run, he will sometimes throw the bat away with a high arc such that it "flips" end over end, rather than simply tossing it to the side as he heads to first base. It's as if to say, "Well, guess I won't be needing this anymore," and is often accompanied by a longer-than-normal pause at the plate to watch the ball leave the park.

It's considered rude by some.
posted by AndrewInDC at 5:17 AM on November 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


Jose, you still don't get it. When you hit that home run my son was still playing fall ball. During practice I had to chastise at least 3 players from replicating your bat flip. You see, that's where the problem lies, when kids emulate major leaguers and coaches have to deal with the fallout. I don't hate you Jose, nor do I question your character, I know your culture promotes this kind of bravado but your new culture doesn't - for a reason. Sports fail when failure becomes some kind of character trait rather than just the result of hard fought competition. Baseball is a team sport and when a player forces his personality on the game he lessens all the work his teammates did to get him to that moment. For the record, I still cringe when I see Joe Carter running around the bases like a fool and Kirk Gibson doing that silly buzzsaw motion when hit hit that HR on one leg. I understand it was a long time getting to that spot for you but 'll tell you what I am constantly telling my little league players - act like you've been there before you never know who's looking or looking up to you.
posted by any major dude at 5:28 AM on November 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


"But let’s call it what it is. Let’s not have these loaded conversations about “character” and the integrity of the game every time certain players show emotion in a big moment."

There's the second flip. Dig how he let's you fill in the blanks.
posted by clvrmnky at 5:28 AM on November 11, 2015 [13 favorites]


Last night in the NHL, the Dallas Stars were hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Stars ran a warning to the Toronto fans that throwing beer at babies inside the arena was not allowed (and put the Blue Jays logo behind a baby's head in the image to ensure nobody missed the point). In response, the Toronto Maple Leafs Twitter feed simply posted the picture of Bautista's bat flip.

There are great moments in baseball, and then there are the legendary ones. Gehrig's retirement speech. The radio broadcast of Thompson's home run. Fisk waving the ball fair. Gimpy Gibson. And now, Bautista's bat flip.

Showing up the opposition just isn't how the game has been played. Critics claim they're not being racist, it's just not the American way (or at least, white and black American). There is a real conflict right now between sportsmanship and emotion. But the majority are starting to acknowledge the unwritten rules are changing.

Then again, bat flips are not new, and hardly warrant notice when a white or black player does it. And there have been other big home runs in Toronto, even further back than you might think.

What all this comes down to, however, is simple. Bautista is the best, and that's a great thing for baseball in North America.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 5:33 AM on November 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


Bravado has been part of the game for a long time. Kids have been pointing like Babe Ruth for kind of a while now, and that seems to have worked out okay.
posted by penduluum at 5:39 AM on November 11, 2015 [13 favorites]


So what exactly is this "fallout", any major dude? What bad things happen if a kid flips his bat?
posted by asterix at 5:42 AM on November 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


Joey Bats's bat flip may have broken major league baseball. That was some Game of Thrones level shit. My dad's generation can't handle flavor of that magnitude.
posted by Sphinx at 5:43 AM on November 11, 2015 [15 favorites]


Wow, any major dude... you have a problem with Carter and Gibson? I mean, I understand not wanting Little Leaguers to do bat flips ('cuz you never know where that missile will end up), but are your players even allowed to smile?

"Play the game, but don't look like you're having fun" is a great recipe for killing the sport.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 5:50 AM on November 11, 2015 [12 favorites]


Dunno if that was ghost written, but if not...

He's a six tool player - writes well, too.
posted by notsnot at 5:58 AM on November 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Asterix, many years ago, a friend did a similar bat flip and the bat hit the person on deck. The neighbourhood diamond just doesn't have enough space to pull such antics safely.
posted by peppermind at 5:58 AM on November 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah great work old white guys "Keep baseball boring" is a fantastic hill to defend with your best high dudgeon.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:59 AM on November 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


It's funny, here in Toronto there seems to be 0.000000% controversy about that bat flip. I don't know if that's because it was our player, or because Canadians don't have such deeply held feelings about how things should be in baseball -- probably both -- but I haven't run across anyone here who doesn't think the bat flip was the greatest thing ever in the history of ever. People who studiously chose not to get on the bandwagon *still* think it was the greatest thing ever. I think bat flipping might become Canada's mic dropping.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:01 AM on November 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


That bat flip was the only reason I watched any baseball at all in 2015.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:01 AM on November 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Dunno if that was ghost written

My thought too.
posted by davebush at 6:01 AM on November 11, 2015


I'm perplexed by the level of butthurt that is required for this to even be a thing. If he looked at the opposing picture and did the "cut my own throat with my finger" thing... then yeah, we can talk. But this?

Anyway, story time...

I've spent most of my life playing soccer. We score, we celebrate. In fact, when I was coaching a group of U-13 kids I let them each come up with a post goal celebration... and then we actually *gasp* PRACTICED them.

For example, one kid put his arms out wide like he was a plane and ran around circles. His teammates flapped their arms like birds and ran into his "wings". Afterwards he dove headfirst on the ground in an imitation of plane landing in the Hudson. (This was in Charlotte... that kid was actually on the plane. Plus it was actually kinda funny, so I let it slide.)

Then when he actually did score he just kinda looked over at the bench, put his arms out for about two seconds and that was it. He ran back to the midfield line just like everybody else. The entire team got the joke even the parents thought it was hilarious.

Sport is a simple concept. Sport is life. Don't let anybody else take your joy away. Neither Jose nor this kid did anything with any intention of showboating or celebrating the downfalls of other players. If anybody has problems with that then it's on them.
posted by Blue_Villain at 6:04 AM on November 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


when you hit a big hr you have to understand that there are players on the other side that fought just as hard as you to get to that moment who are feeling about as low as you feel high, is it too much to ask for you to wait until you are surrounded by your teammates to celebrate? The respect I've felt for my opponents who didn't show me up when I've been beaten is immense, it showed me that they appreciated the competition and respected my fight. There is a reason why Mariano Rivera was the most respected player of his time. He would ruin big moments for players year in and year out yet not once did he show them up. Oh and he came from the same kind of "culture" Bautista couldn't (or wouldn't) outgrow.
posted by any major dude at 6:04 AM on November 11, 2015


"culture"
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:09 AM on November 11, 2015 [20 favorites]


Oh and he came from the same kind of "culture" Bautista couldn't (or wouldn't) outgrow.
You know... the way you use "culture" with the quotes makes it appear quite racist. Just because two people might have grown up in the same neighborhood of the same city... does NOT mean they grew up in the same "culture".

Let's try to be a bit less 'us is different than them' going forward.
posted by Blue_Villain at 6:09 AM on November 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


There is a reason why Mariano Rivera was the most respected player of his time. He would ruin big moments for players year in and year out yet not once did he show them up.

And yet Derek Jeter with his fuck-you fist pump is for some reason considered a model for young players.
posted by escabeche at 6:12 AM on November 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


and year out yet not once did he show them up. Oh and he came from the same kind of "culture" Bautista couldn't (or wouldn't) outgrow.

Why did you put culture in quotes? And why do you think it's something to outgrow?
posted by asterix at 6:12 AM on November 11, 2015 [9 favorites]


Blue Villain, maybe read the article before you comment, Bautista is the one who is blaming his culture, not me
posted by any major dude at 6:13 AM on November 11, 2015


Oh and he came from the same kind of "culture" Bautista couldn't (or wouldn't) outgrow.

Given that the evidence suggests that baseball brawls (largely for violating these asinine "unwritten rules") are between players of different ethnicities, the use of scare quotes around culture and talk of "outgrowing" seems pretty gross and racist.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:14 AM on November 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm not sure why we're questioning whether or not Bautista wrote this article that has his name on it.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:14 AM on November 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


You may have to explain this. What is a bat flip?

as far as i can tell the guy who wrote (or "wrote") the linked article threw his bat after hitting the ball well. apparently this is significant "culturally". in particular it seems to have hurt the feelings of the people on the opposing team - i think maybe there was some confusion over whether it was a competitive game or not.
posted by andrewcooke at 6:21 AM on November 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


peppermind: "Asterix, many years ago, a friend did a similar bat flip and the bat hit the person on deck. The neighbourhood diamond just doesn't have enough space to pull such antics safely."

There is no way bat flips significantly increase the danger inherent in a sport in which people throw balls at maximum velocity towards a space that is within inches of another person's unprotected face.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:24 AM on November 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


In every other major sport, a quick flourish after you do something awesome on offense is standard. The only reason it is a tradition for baseball players not to celebrate when they get a big hit in baseball is because baseball is the only sport where the defense has the ball. An offensive player is more or less his own against a field full of opposing players. It's the implicit threat of physical violence, not decorum that has traditionally kept players sedate.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:31 AM on November 11, 2015 [19 favorites]


I'm a Jays fan. I think that the bat flip was fourteen different kinds of awesome. Just thinking about it fills me with joy and happiness.

In the Good Old Days [tm], if a player celebrated too much, the opposing pitcher would throw the ball at his skull the next time he came up to bat. I think that bat flips are far less hazardous than that.
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 6:41 AM on November 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Bat flips are awesome.
posted by drezdn at 6:43 AM on November 11, 2015


Pitchers pump their fists and do little dances when they get a tough out all the time.
posted by drezdn at 6:46 AM on November 11, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm from Toronto, and I would have (grudgingly) thought that flip was awesome if it had been a player from the Rangers who did it in similar circumstances.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:52 AM on November 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Mets fan here. I would have been fine seeing this bat flip against our team. Celebrate your amazingness.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:55 AM on November 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


You may have to explain this. What is a bat flip?
posted by Major Tom


That's when you hit a home run and you toss the bat underhand with a flourish so it flips end over end. It's considered a huge no-no.

Baseball has certain unwritten rules that are understood among the players. One of the key ones is that you do not "show up" the opponent. If you hit a home run, you drop the bat like normal and jog the bases. What you don't do is flip the bat like that, or stand in the batters box and watch the ball fly before you start jogging the bases, and you don't dawdle around the bases. Basically act like you've been there before. It's kind of an acknowledgement that "hey, I got you this time but that doesn't make me hot shit." People often debate the wisdom of the unwritten laws (and there are a lot) but you have to remember... baseball is a three to four hour game that a team plays 162 times over six months. That's a long damn time to be needling opponents every time you make a play.

The thing with Bautista's rather emphatic flip is that, well, if you take it in isolation, it's a big violation of said unwritten rules. But then you have to look at the circumstances leading up to it. The seventh inning of that game will forever be remembered as possibly the most bizarre and eventful inning in baseball history. By the time he hit that bomb that game had already become very heated. When that ball left the bat, there are few times I have ever heard a stadium crowd explode like that. If you haven't seen it, look for the 2015 ALDS Game 5 7th inning. The flip sorta make sense when you see the whole thing.
posted by azpenguin at 6:59 AM on November 11, 2015 [11 favorites]


I'm from Toronto, and I would have (grudgingly) thought that flip was awesome if it had been a player from the Rangers who did it in similar circumstances.

And as a Texas fan, I had zero problem with Bautista's flip. If it had been Beltre and had been the turning point of a series that the Rangers had gone on to win, I'd have that shit in a frame on my wall.
posted by Ufez Jones at 7:00 AM on November 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


This whole brouhaha reminds me of Grandpa Simpson yelling at his TV: "Look at them sideburns! He looks like a girl. Now, Johnny Unitas, there's a haircut you could set your watch to."

posted by The Card Cheat at 7:04 AM on November 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


Baseball "unwritten rules", and the fans who holler about them, are goddamn hilarious to me. I mean, seriously: grown men are upset about this. Grown men who are not actually baseball players. It's ridiculous to me.
posted by uberchet at 7:07 AM on November 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


Hrm. When you said "Bat Flip" and "Disrespectful", I was expecting him to stand there and twirl the thing like a baton, not chuck it to the seats.

He looks like he's thinking 'Damn straight. Done.', though, which... yeah.. I don't follow baseball, but that was some quality work right there, which is why you even bother showing up to the championships.
posted by Xyanthilous P. Harrierstick at 7:08 AM on November 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I was never into sports as a kid, so never really understood how people could get so emotionally invested in their teams or particular players. When that bat flipped, the scales fell from my eyes.

Actually, it was the stance, just before the flip. Wow.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:09 AM on November 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


jacquilynne, articles on the Player's Tribune are ghost written. Writers interview the athletes, and write the stories which are then given final approved by the athlete.

That's why the athletes on TPT are referred to as "Contributing Editors" rather than "authors".
posted by HighLife at 7:12 AM on November 11, 2015 [1 favorite]




Yes, it's exactly the sort of thing kids do in backyard wiffle ball games, and street stickball. Smacking a tennis ball over the neighbor's fence and skipping from the frisbee you're using as home plate over to the tree at first base as you hear the crowd in your head is the sort of dream that makes kids imagine being a professional baseball player when they grow up.

In a time when people are concerned about the sport because all the best athletes are playing basketball or football, THAT pure joy the thing you want to discourage? It's no wonder young athletes are going to other sports instead.
posted by HighLife at 7:15 AM on November 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


Just because two people might have grown up in the same neighborhood of the same city... does NOT mean they grew up in the same "culture".

And Rivera is from Panama, while Bautista is from the Dominican. That's a pretty big neighbourhood.

Let's be clear - this is not about culture ("culture", maybe, but not culture). Wanna watch some bat flips? Be prepared to see Latino, black, Japanese, Korean, and white players (including some who have since been elected into the Hall of Fame). It's universal.

Yes, Little Leaguers should not do it. But that's a safety issue. The backstops and sidelines at neighbourhood parks aren't big enough, and young players aren't always paying attention. I coach kids 5-13 years old, so I understand that concern. And when I see a player being reckless or unaware in their actions, I make sure to take them aside and talk with them. But to suggest they shouldn't show emotion for fear of upsetting the opponents? Sorry, no. Enjoy the moment, or endure the moment if it's against you. And either way, shake hands and sincerely thank your opponent for the game afterwards.

As a Blue Jays fan, it killed me to see the Royals move on in the playoffs, and eventually win the World Series. But boy, you really have to acknowledge they had a great team, and applaud what they were able to do. Sometimes you flip the bat, sometimes the bat flips against you. But the bat will flip.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 7:15 AM on November 11, 2015 [13 favorites]


When that ball left the bat, there are few times I have ever heard a stadium crowd explode like that.

The entire city exploded like that. I was watching in a bar, and shouted so loudly that I could not talk above a whisper for three days.
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 7:16 AM on November 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Rocksteady, I think you're vastly overstating the dangers of slo-pitch softball. I don't think Bautista is horrible for flipping his bat, I just understand why you might not want kids emulating it.
posted by peppermind at 7:19 AM on November 11, 2015


I too was in a Toronto bar, and the guys at the next table jumped up so fast they knocked all of the beer on their table onto the floor.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:22 AM on November 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


As a Blue Jays fan, it killed me to see the Royals move on in the playoffs, and eventually win the World Series. But boy, you really have to acknowledge they had a great team, and applaud what they were able to do.

I agree with you. But I still wonder what would have happened if Navarro and Revere hadn't had those outside strikes called on them.
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 7:26 AM on November 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


When MLB's television channel did a statcast on Batista's bat flip itself, I knew we'd turned a corner on this kind of thing becoming more accepted than not.
posted by AndrewInDC at 7:35 AM on November 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Best Bat Flips

Enjoy!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:50 AM on November 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


Don't you dare, DON'T YOU DARE bat flip, gesture, jog too slow, jog too fast, watch the ball, smile, or do anything but jog the bases while looking down at the ground with resting bitch face, or you're Showing Up The Other Team, baseball's worst sin. Now, me throwing a hard projectile into your ribs at 95 mph? That's just good ol' fashioned baseball, right there!
posted by dirigibleman at 7:51 AM on November 11, 2015 [17 favorites]


So what exactly is this "fallout", any major dude? What bad things happen if a kid flips his bat?

When I played pee-wee baseball and softball one rule they enforced was you took the bat before standing into the batter's stance and drew a circle in the dirt as far as you could reach holding it with one hand and if your bat landed outside the circle after you swung it you were out. Do American elementary schools even have bats any more? I cannot imagine a bat getting past many modern school safety committees.
posted by bukvich at 7:53 AM on November 11, 2015 [1 favorite]




Flipping the bat is a pretty understated thing, considering soccer players run around aimlessly, take their shirts off (??) and slide on their knees with their arms aloft when they score.
posted by davebush at 8:00 AM on November 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


goodness me. that must be like, negative culture.
posted by andrewcooke at 8:09 AM on November 11, 2015


This seems absolutely ridiculous to me. For crying out loud, this sort of thing has been going on at least since Babe Ruth's called shot and there have been more effusive home run celebrations over the years (e.g., Piersall's 1963 backwards run of the bases to celebrate his 100th home run, Fisk's jumps for joy in Game Six of the 1975 World Series, etc.).
posted by slkinsey at 8:26 AM on November 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I want the All Star Game to have batflips as part of the Home Run derby. Pitchers flip the rosin bag after a big strikeout. FLIP ALL THE THINGS.

One of my favorite things about the KBO is when a hitter crushes a pitch, flips his bat....

...and the ball is caught short of the warning track. High comedy.
posted by HighLife at 8:53 AM on November 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's a good thing that NFL players never celebrate a touchdown excessively. Take their good example here MLB players.
posted by GuyZero at 8:55 AM on November 11, 2015


To those who have commented "Jose doesn't get it", I would say that the article clearly indicates that he DOES get it. He's not reppin' suburban kids playing for their dad, the coach, who's going to be chagrined when his kid flips a bat in front all of the parents from the PTA, he's reppin' every kid in the DR who dreams of making it to the Bigs. Baseball needs more of this passion, not less.
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:02 AM on November 11, 2015 [21 favorites]


During practice I had to chastise at least 3 players from replicating your bat flip. You see, that's where the problem lies, when kids emulate major leaguers and coaches have to deal with the fallout.

So you had to have a conversation with the youth and might have helped them learn something? Sounds like a positive thing, all-told.
posted by beau jackson at 9:02 AM on November 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


Chris Rock on Real Sports pointed out the inherent racism in a lot of the "unwritten rules of American baseball, noting that the American form of the sport "doesn't just have rules from another time. It has an old fashioned code too. When you score in football or basketball, the players celebrate. 'Good times, come on!' But when you score in baseball, the code says you'd better not look too happy about it or else a baseball will go whizzing by your head. It's the only sport where there's a 'right way' to play the game: the white way. The way it was played 100 years ago, when only whites were allowed to play. This code doesn't exist in other places where they play baseball. Like Korea, where bat-flipping is an art form. Or the Caribbean, where the games are a carnival. The old negro leagues were a carnival too. There were actual clowns on the roster; they played with invisible balls pitched through through their legs. But in America's proper version of the game, baseball is like a visit to the Queen: if you don't bow correctly it could be an international incident. "
posted by slkinsey at 9:12 AM on November 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


Many of the people who are aghast over the bat flip have no problem at all with pitchers intentionally throwing at batters, and consider it a traditional part of the game.
posted by rocket88 at 9:12 AM on November 11, 2015 [13 favorites]


If baseball was like cricket, the pitcher would run around the bases and high-five the infielders whenever he gets a strikeout (at least according the 5 minutes of cricket highlights I once watched on YouTube).
posted by i_have_a_computer at 9:12 AM on November 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure that the bat even flipped at all! It seems to have flown through the air on a steady plane and finished flatly on the ground. I can't find a wide-enough shot to make sure. We could be fighting for nothing!! (I know it's irrelevant, just a point of interest).
posted by beau jackson at 9:20 AM on November 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have legit watched video of the Bautista bat flip probably 30 times. I have watched an animated gif of it on loop for as long as five minutes at a time. Some people just do not appreciate magnificence.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:25 AM on November 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


GuyZero: It's a good thing that NFL players never celebrate a touchdown excessively. Take their good example here MLB players.

When they do, they are penalized.

There are rules against taunting and excessive celebration displays in the NFL, AFL and in NCAA College Football. The NFL and NCAA impose an automatic 15 yard penalty for the offending player's team and the NFL can and will impose fines or suspensions on players who break the rules. Wikipedia has more.
posted by zarq at 9:59 AM on November 11, 2015


Baseball Reaches a Flipping Point: "For bat flip aficionados, the speed, trajectory and distance of a toss are crucial details. Midair rotations add to the visual splendor. Dramatic posturing and histrionic facial expressions elevate things to the next level. Bautista’s flip had it all."
posted by edeezy at 10:12 AM on November 11, 2015


There are rules against taunting and excessive celebration displays in the NFL

AND YET.

"Simply spiking the ball is not interpreted as excessive celebration unless the ball is spiked towards another player on the opposing team. Jumping onto the outer wall to accept contact from fans, such as the Lambeau Leap, is also not considered such, as it is off the field of play."

So you're still allowed to do stuff, just not "excessive" stuff.
posted by GuyZero at 10:12 AM on November 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


beau jackson: I'm not sure that the bat even flipped at all! It seems to have flown through the air on a steady plane and finished flatly on the ground.

Joe Posnanski and Mike Schur (Ken Tremendous) on bat flips and unwritten rules:

First of all, it’s called a Bat Flip regardless of whether the bat rotates in the air, and regardless of whether he threw it or flipped it or anything. We all, as a society, have to agree on this. It is a Bat Flip.
---------------------
If Neil Armstrong had played by baseball’s stupid unwritten rules of decorum, he would have whispered, “Yeah, I’m on the moon.”

“Act like you’ve been there before, Neil,” he said to himself, quietly, as he slowly descended onto the surface of an alien planet.

posted by memento maury at 10:17 AM on November 11, 2015 [10 favorites]


I actually enjoy the rare anti-bat flip even more than a traditional bat flip. It's saying, "This bat was nothing, a mere toothpick in my mighty hands."
posted by AndrewInDC at 10:18 AM on November 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


Bat flips should be encouraged so more players have to do the walk of shame after their smashes go foul.
posted by edeezy at 10:20 AM on November 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is great.

It’s the closest I have ever felt to being a superhero.

It's also the closest I have ever felt to his being a superhero, so this seems to check out.
posted by RogerB at 10:30 AM on November 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Baseball is a sport where you can recognize very high end play because quality players are very, very good at keeping anything interesting from happening ever. At lower levels interesting things can happen when players fail to perfectly field balls, or make wrong decisions about base running, and so forth. At higher levels, these interesting events are much rarer; on the whole an educated observer can more or less know exactly how most plays will proceed simply by watching the trajectory of the ball coming off the bat. Deviations from easily predictable perfection are so thoroughly discouraged that most of them are classified as "errors" and charged against the players who commit them.

Because major league players are so good at suppressing interesting events from occurring on the field of play, it is sometimes admissible for them to introduce occasional interesting elements, like flipping bats to celebrate hitting the ball relatively straight ahead and too far for the defenders to ever get to it, or throwing knuckleballs. However, it is disastrous when players at lower levels emulate their major league heroes, because unlike their major league heroes they are not nearly as good at preventing interesting events from occurring on the field, and as such their plays are always teetering on the threshold of becoming interestingly unpredictable. The introduction of deliberately interesting elements is as such very dangerous at lower levels, since it can cause the game to tip all the way over into being interesting. As we all know, this would violate the spirit and customs of the sport altogether.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 10:37 AM on November 11, 2015 [4 favorites]


I heard about people calling this disrespectful before I saw the actual clip, and I was all prepared for him to throw the bat at someone or make obscene gestures or something, based on what people were saying. Once I saw the actual clip, my reaction was "HOLY SHIT HE MURDERED A BASEBALL".

Seriously. Watch it again. Watch it again again. For bonus points watch it from the beginning of the at-bat, so you can feel the electricity. That is one of the biggest home runs you'll ever see. I don't mean "big" as in at a clutch moment, although it is certainly that. He commits grievous bodily harm on that baseball. That baseball's family just wants to find all the pieces so they can give their boy a proper burial and get some closure. He crushes it. For five seconds after you do something like that, you get to do whatever the fuck you want: murder a hobo, commit bigamy, vote Republican, whatever. A simple bat flip shows a tremendous amount of restraint for his moment of unlimited power. He could have declared us all Canadians and we'd have to be, like, "Well, I guess I love Tim Horton's now, sorry Dunkies."
posted by Errant at 11:02 AM on November 11, 2015 [30 favorites]


I love that MeFi is getting more open to sports to the point that we can have two threads on a bat flip.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:17 AM on November 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


Metafilter continues to hate sports but also hates culture policing and the latter overrides the former.
posted by GuyZero at 11:21 AM on November 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm a Royals fan (WHOOOOooooo) and I think Bautista is a whiny punk, based upon what I saw of him in the ALCS, and even I do not think the bat flip is a big deal. This is like the red Starbucks cup of professional sports. I think nobody actually cares except like four guys who needed to come up with things to write articles about and a handful of nuts on Twitter.
posted by something something at 11:27 AM on November 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


> when you hit a big hr you have to understand that there are players on the other side that fought just as hard as you to get to that moment who are feeling about as low as you feel high, is it too much to ask for you to wait until you are surrounded by your teammates to celebrate?

Dude, you're making me embarrassed to be an old white guy. I remember when there were just eight teams in each league, I grew up as a fan of this long-gone team, I hate the DH rule and interleague play, and even I have absolutely no problem with Jose Bautista's bat flip.
posted by languagehat at 11:36 AM on November 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


GuyZero: "So you're still allowed to do stuff, just not "excessive" stuff."

Guess which "culture" is considered "excessive".
posted by Rock Steady at 11:45 AM on November 11, 2015 [3 favorites]


If you're an outsider to baseball and you see that flip, it has an impact. If you watch the at-bat, and see how far the ball went, even if you've never seen another game, you know it's big. But even if you know it came in a deciding game of a championship series, between a team that hadn't even been in the playoffs in 22 years and a team that hadn't ever won a title in its 54 year history, that still can't appreciate its full impact.

Texas won the first two games of a best-of-five, in Toronto. Then Toronto won the next two games in Texas. It's down to the deciding game of the series, in Toronto. And the game was tied after 6 innings. Neither team is scoring runs. Then came The Seventh Inning, and yes it deserves the capitalization. Roughned Odor (not to be confused with his brother, Roughned Odor) is at third base when the Toronto-born All-Star catcher Russell Martin throws the ball back to the pitcher, an event that happens literally thousands of times each season. Except there's been a slight change to the rules this year, requiring batters to stay at the plate between pitches. The rule was meant to help speed up the games, but in this case it will ironically lead to one of the longest game delays in history. This time, the batter is Shin-Soo Choo, who routinely stretches his arm between pitches, something he does hundreds of times each season. Thrown ball unexpectedly meets outstretched arm and careens into the field.

There's a distinction in baseball between a "live" ball and a "dead" ball. If a ball is dead, play stops. Runners can't advance, runs can't be scored, no outs can be made. But while a ball is live, anything can happen. And this ball is live. Odor, the runner at third, sees the ball on the field and alertly races home. The umpire quickly declares the ball dead, so the Toronto players don't try to make a play (although they probably wouldn't have caught Odor anyway). But on review, the umpiring crew determines the ball was still live and the run scores, giving Texas the lead, late in the deciding game of a championship series.

The home crowd goes insane. To them, it looked like the batter intentionally interfered with the throw, which should mean an automatic out. They're wrong, but Canadian audiences grew up on hockey, where if a referee whistles a play down, nobody can score. And the umpire had called the play dead. But this is baseball, and this exact situation is oddly in the rulebook, and it says the play is still live. A city that has waited 22 years to reach this point is on the verge of losing due to a freak occurrence. Another city that has never known what it's like to achieve the ultimate prize is potentially one giant step closer due to that same freak event. Emotions are high on both sides. Toronto's playing under protest, the umpires are on the verge of calling a forfeit because the fans are out of their minds, and even the announcers are lost for words.

Then Toronto comes to bat. And since baseball is favoured by the Redemption Gods, Martin is the first at bat. He hits a simple grounder to second base, an easy out. Except the fielder boots it, and he's safe. The next batter hits a routine grounder to first, it's fielded cleanly and thrown to second to start a double play. Except the throw skips and is dropped, and everyone's safe. Then one of Toronto's weakest hitters comes up, and bunts the ball to third. It's an OK bunt, but Texas has a phenomenal third baseman who grabs it, turns, and throws it to third to force the lead runner. Except the ball is dropped. Three plays, three straight errors on simple plays.

After Texas finally gets an out, Toronto has its best player up. Josh Donaldson is having perhaps the best year of any player in the game this season. And he hits a little flare into short outfield that Texas can't quite catch. It's not a great hit; it should have been an out. But it's enough to bring in one run and tie the game. And everyone watching understands, no matter what happens now, no matter who wins, this is a magical game. Something big, something enormous, something that will be talked about for years is happening, and everyone knows it.

Then Bautista steps up to bat. There's only one active player this year who had played more games without ever reaching the playoffs than Bautista. He's been the heart and soul of Toronto's team through five frustrating seasons before this one. He's been one of baseball's best players for years, been the top vote-getter for the All-Star Game, been the face of the game without ever being on its greatest stage.

That's what is behind that flip. A player who's waited over 1400 games to be in the playoffs, on a team that waited 22 years, in a do-or-die game, after a freak play put them behind and at least three freakish plays tied it up. You just can't make that up, because it's just ridiculously over-the-top, beyond even Hollywood storytelling extreme. If a player in that spot can't show emotion, then none of us can. That is joy, that is release of frustration, that is achievement, that is redemption and satisfaction and relief and pride.

And on preview, apparently it's also something I feel strongly about. Sorry.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 12:33 PM on November 11, 2015 [52 favorites]


Cannot fave GhostintheMachine hard enough.

And - AND - as far as celebratory gestures go honestly the bat flip was pretty reserved. No yelling, shouting, hand-waving, fist-pumping, anything at all really, until he was around the bases and nearly back in the dugout.
posted by GuyZero at 12:40 PM on November 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


GhostintheMachine, you should metaphorically flip your own bat a little after posting that - what you've written so precisely and so eloquently sums it up.

I am not much of a baseball fan, but a weird feedback loop has happened with me and Jose Bautista. The more I read about him (or read things written by him, or hear him speak), the more I like him, which leads me to seek out more material, and the cycle continues. I'm a frowny at the people above assuming he must've had a ghostwriter. This guy completed an undergraduate degree at age 33, well after he was an MLB superstar making multi-millions. An editor may have tidied things up (but the same can be said of anything I've published - and writing is my main gig), but his spoken words and actions over the years show a fairly keen analytical mind at work.

His essay The Cycle should be required reading in this thread (in that it's also his by-line and it also addresses racism and the hierarchies of culture, or "culture," in baseball). In it, he perceives and articulates the power structures he's part of, and he uses his privilege and his voice to advocate on behalf of people who have been less well-served by those same power structures.
posted by erlking at 1:00 PM on November 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


How dare he!

If only he could be as professional and unemotional as Carlton Fisk rounding the bases...
posted by hal_c_on at 1:07 PM on November 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, as the Blue Jays playoff run coincided with Canada finally and emphatically giving Stephen Harper the boot, something like this was inevitable. Let us have this moment, OK?
posted by erlking at 1:09 PM on November 11, 2015 [3 favorites]



when you hit a big hr you have to understand that there are players on the other side that fought just as hard as you to get to that moment who are feeling about as low as you feel high, is it too much to ask for you to wait until you are surrounded by your teammates to celebrate? The respect I've felt for my opponents who didn't show me up when I've been beaten is immense, it showed me that they appreciated the competition and respected my fight.



I don't understand the criticism at all.

Here is carlton fisk blasting it and winning a world series game. NOBODY criticized him. In fact, this is probably one of the more famous baseball clips.

You probably saw parts of it in "good will hunting", where two unapologetic baseball fans were talking about how awesome everything was...including his dramatics.

That was 40 years ago, and was totally ok. What is the problem now?
posted by hal_c_on at 1:19 PM on November 11, 2015


I never even knew this was a thing, and I have Bautista on my (13th place) fantasy team (I also didn't watch a single full game of baseball this year...)

I don't understand the criticism at all.

In case you haven't gotten it yet (from the article or comments), guys with dark skin get criticized for displays of emotion whereas whiter guys tend to get a pass. See GitM's link.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:24 PM on November 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


There's a tradition of not showing up your opponents in hockey too, but sometimes the rules just aren't applicable. To me, Bautista's bat flip falls into the same category.

On the other hand, if you want to complain about obnoxious Blue Jay gamesmanship, you can always turn to their first World Series appearance in 1992: Exhibit A, Exhibit B & Exhibit C.

The difference to me is a genuine show of emotion vs. a deliberate attempt to intimidate/upset your opponent.
posted by cardboard at 1:34 PM on November 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, despite some massive seasons since his breakout (2009?), I've never been prouder of Jose than:
Baseball is a metaphor for America. It’s a giant melting pot made up of people from all over the world and all walks of life. How can you expect everybody to be exactly the same? Act exactly the same? More importantly, why would you want them to?
Hear hear! The battle in pro sports (and the world at large) is not emotion vs. sportsmanship (defined completely differently from sport to sport, e.g. unwritten rules of golf vs. unwritten rules of basketball). The battle is diversity vs. totalitarianism.

We've all played against poor winners (again, defined as whatever behavior pisses you off most when you lose). We can handle it, or at least we should be able to.

It's interesting. I'm actually the opposite of emotion whenever I play, Martina Navratilova style (early years), and some people take offense at that behavior, i.e. no reactions at all, just talking under my breath to myself or partner/team. So you never know what will piss some people off. Some people are poor losers, and ANYTHING will piss them off.

That's the other takeaway: winning and losing sports games isn't that important. Don't take it so seriously.

On the other hand, if you want to complain about obnoxious Blue Jay gamesmanship

When they're mocking one of the most offensive fan chants in recent memory, they get a pass.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:41 PM on November 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


I'm an old school baseball fan (my username refers to these guys) and grew up knowing all the unwritten rules. That bat flip was glorious.

I don't hate you Jose, nor do I question your character, I know your culture promotes this kind of bravado but your new culture doesn't - for a reason.

His "new culture" used to only allow white men to play. We are now lucky enough to see the very best of all players from all over the world play the game at its' best. Baseball's "culture" has changed and is changing and bat flips and players celebrating are part of it. (My team brings a disco ball and a fog machine on the road to celebrate wins.) That is the new "culture" that he is part of now. It's no longer a game where white men get to tell people from other "cultures" that they don't belong or how to behave. The people who don't think that it a very good thing will simply have to outgrow their "culture" and learn how to behave in the new "culture" to which they and we all now belong.
posted by colt45 at 6:56 PM on November 11, 2015 [7 favorites]


If Bautista's catching hell for "disrespecting the game" (seriously, wtf kinda "not racist" BS is that?), then this Goins guy must have hell to pay. Start at 0:06.
posted by Chutzler at 7:47 PM on November 11, 2015


There's a distinction in baseball between a "live" ball and a "dead" ball. If a ball is dead, play stops. Runners can't advance, runs can't be scored, no outs can be made. But while a ball is live, anything can happen. And this ball is live (snip) The umpire quickly declares the ball dead, so the Toronto players don't try to make a play (although they probably wouldn't have caught Odor anyway). But on review, the umpiring crew determines the ball was still live and the run scores, giving Texas the lead, late in the deciding game of a championship series.

Sort of wrong there.

1) Yes, runners can't advance on a dead ball -- unless the umpires declare that the result of the play that caused the dead ball would have been that they advance. If that's the case, they advance them and the result of the play stands. The same thing occurs after a home run (ball is dead, batter and runners advance to home), an automatic double (Batter gets 2nd, runners advance two bases and score if that takes them home) or the extra base you get if a ball is thrown out of play. In all cases, the ball is dead, but runners advance without peril.

2) The ball was declared dead the moment it hit the bat...

3) ...which was a flat out screwup by the home plate umpire. That ball is dead if the batter *intentionally* interfered with the throw back to the catcher, but the batter wasn't even looking at the ball. He was just getting ready to swing and *thunk*. That ball was In Play -- right up until the ump called it dead. That made it dead, and it can't be made live again until the pitcher has the ball, is ready to pitch, and the umpire calls "play!" However...

4) ...Odor had already gotten at least of a third of the way to home when the Home Plate umpire declared the ball dead.

So. The umpires confer and declare the result of the play would be that Odor scores, *despite* the fact that they'd screwed up and called the play dead. They even conferred with New York to make sure they could advance Odor. Since the decision here to call play dead was A) wrong but B) a judgement call, it couldn't be challenged. But the crew wanted to get it right, and the umpires have the explicit authority to advance runners on a dead ball if that would have been the obvious result of the play. That's why throw to third that goes out of play scores the runner -- it's obvious that he would have scored had the ball been live, but it's dead the moment it goes out of play.

It was the single most bizarre play I've seen in the postseason -- even more so than the Walk Off Obstruction a couple of years back (a call the umpires absolutely nailed, btw.) It also shows that, like all rulesets, while the basic rules are pretty simple, the edge case rules are not.

Heck, just the difference between Interference and Obstruction isn't easy until you realize that you Obstruct runners, and Interfere with everyone else. And, yeah, it's legit to wonder why they need a different rule for that, but that's what they have.

Because baseball.
posted by eriko at 9:42 AM on November 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


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