Bat Flips: Good or Bad for Baseball?
Bat flips and other forms of celebrations by hitters have become growingly popular in the game of baseball over recent years. Some people love it, some people hate. We are going to briefly break down some of the thoughts and opinions we have seen from around the baseball community. While reading this, think to yourself, do you prefer the old school style of baseball that didn’t tolerate antics, or are you a fan of bat flips and players showing a little personality on the field?
Traditionalist fans of the game many times share a common opinion on this “controversy”; if you flip your bat after launching a home run, you’re getting beaned by the pitcher your next at-bat. This stems from the idea that bat flipping is a form of showing up the opposing pitcher which in turn is disrespecting him and the opposing team.
For decades prior to this modern era of baseball, players were taught to respect the game and respect the opposing team. This meant no showboating, no antics at the plate, you hit a bomb, you put your head down and run around the bases. No watching the ball leave the yard as you walk halfway down the line, none of that. Players were taught that if you did any of those things, to expect a ball “in your ear” when you came to the plate next.
Another main issue some have with bat flips is the possible danger the batter may be in if the pitcher decides to hit him with a pitch during his next at bat, as this could cause serious injury. Additionally, bat flips or the following drilling of the batter most of the time leads to the benches clearing, and sometimes punches being thrown, which is another concern for people that fear the safety of the players.
The other side of this debate mainly comes from those who believe the game of baseball is “boring” or needs more personality from its players. If you’re on social media at all there is a good chance you have seen the phrase “Let The Kids Play” going around from any big baseball channels, even MLB’s channel itself. This is a phrase that has been used when discussing the idea that baseball needs to give players more of a platform to show their personality on the field.
Younger fans love bat flips, they love the antics, they love seeing their favorite players show a little personality and emotion on the field. That is what keeps them watching and fuels their love for the game. And of course, as kids do, they mimic the people they look up to the most and want to be like, on or off the field. Therefore, many major baseball channels on social media are promoting bat flips for that very reason.
In the eyes of younger fans and the more “progressive” fan, the big bat flips and celebrations add additional excitement to the game which in turn will grow the fanbase. And according to the more “traditionalist” fan, bat flips are disrespectful to the pitcher and the game overall. What are your thoughts? Are bat flips good or bad for the game of baseball? Let us know in the comments below and enjoy this video of a few bat flips from the start of the 2019 MLB season!
This article was originally published on August 14, 2020, and has been updated with new information.