It was the bat flip heard ’round the world. In the bottom of the 7th inning of Wednesday’s Rangers-Blue Jays series clincher Jose Bautista did what he’s done since he arrived in Toronto – crush the ball.
That moon-shot home run landed in the second deck of the Rogers Centre seating and erupted what was an already desperate and fiery Blue Jays fan base. But it was not the actual three-run go-ahead home run, but more of what happened after the home run, that became the topic of discussion across sports mediums the following day.
Jose Bautista, better known as Joey Bats, flung his bat towards the Rangers dugout quickly after making contact in an angry, passionate and ecstatic fashion. The practice of a bat flips, which is often criticized throughout traditional baseball circles, adds a flare to the game. This particular bat flip, well, it will surely be a signature moment for Blue Jays fans for years to come.
But for the Texas Rangers, their fans and baseball purists – it was a major slap in the face and a sign of disrespect.
Sam Dyson, the pitcher who gave up that go-ahead home run had this to say, “I told (Edwin Encarnacion in the on deck circle) Jose needs to calm that down, just kind of respect the game a little more,” Dyson said. “He’s a huge role model for the younger generation that’s coming up playing this game, and I mean he’s doing stuff that kids do in Wiffle ball games and backyard baseball. It shouldn’t be done.”
Sam Dyson, you sound bitter and like you hate all things fun.
Let’s think about this. Baseball is a game, right? Games are supposed to be fun, right? So, let’s stop the petty whining. Let’s stop whining and complaining about someone showing an ounce of personality and passion in a series-clinching baseball game in a city that hasn’t had one of those in over twenty years.
Baseball purists that discourage public displays of swagger are simply out-dated and sound like bitter old men yelling down from their stoops. No longer are the days of hitters slugging home runs and quietly jogging around the base paths. No longer are the days of pitchers dominating on the mound and remaining humble to the public eye.
Baseball is peculiar in the fact that players are often ostracized and discouraged from showing emotion or swagger. Whereas players in other popular world sports, like soccer or basketball, are celebrated and applauded for showing individuality and unfiltered emotion.
Players like Bryce Harper, Yasiel Puig and Jose Bautista (just to name a few) are great for the game of baseball. Baseball is losing its fan base at an alarming rate, due to games lasting too long and lack of excitement, among other things. These brash, young players are exciting as hell to watch and the game of baseball needs them.
Back to Sam Dyson and his gripe with players flipping their bats after home runs. Ultimately, if you don’t want players flipping their bats – don’t give up home runs.