Thursday, April 16, 2015

By Glen McKee and Nate Trop, Columnists - 

The first week of baseball 2015 is in the books and as always, there are several questions facing the Angels:  Will Cron snap out of it?  Will Joyce snap out of it?  How does an opposing pitcher walk Iannetta (do they even scout him)?  And let’s not even get into the questions about Josh Hamilton.
All of these are legitimate questions and best left for people who feel like continuing to beat a dead horse.  We PCPers like to focus on more important issues, and right now no issue is more important than whether the bat-flip is an acceptable baseball move, and if so when is it acceptable. 

This question is especially relevant now that Yasiel Puig has announced that he will be cutting back on the bat-flips this year.  Puig said “I want to show American baseball that I’m not disrespecting the game.”  Okey dokey.  With that in mind, what’s up with the bat-flip?  Is it an acceptable part of the game?

Bring on the bat-flips – by Glen McKee

Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t swing a dead cat without hitting somebody complaining about the ever-increasing hypersensitivity (they often use a word that evokes a particular female organ but I’m classier than that) of America.  This is manifest in many ways: trophies for participation, being called out for saying something stupid, calls for more inclusiveness, and myriad other expressions.  Some of those I agree with, some I don’t.  Participation trophies and third-grade graduation ceremonies are the devil, but being a bit more sensitive to other people isn’t a bad thing.  That said, and I can’t believe I’m gonna take the side of (last year) Yasiel Puig, bring on more bat flips.  I love them.

Puig talked about not disrespecting the game.  Cuban, please.  Baseball loves to put itself on a pedestal, but said pedestal in reality is no bigger than the last-place trophies for your kid’s t-ball team.  
Baseball is a grand old game, but it’s not some snooty debutante or a refined English butler (henceforth and forevermore, I shall refer to baseball as Jeeves, to render the respect it deserves).  No, Jeeves is dirty.  That’s why I like it.  It’s like a fart in the elevator or the vodka in the prom punch bowl.  Deep down, in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want that dirty Jeeves.  You need that dirty Jeeves.  Without it, baseball would be torture.  Look at how bad pro football is getting as the fun is slowly being siphoned away.  Jeeves shouldn’t go that way.  (And on that note, enough with the jeeves.)

A good bat-flip is one of the best taunts.  The pitcher can throw inside, brush somebody off the plate, and give the batter a frightful stare.  There isn’t much a batter can do, other than to celebrate a little after making the pitcher cry on the inside.  A well-executed bat-flip should be an essential part of a hitter’s repertoire, and I’d love to see Scioscia make practicing it part of the Angels’ daily routine; maybe he could cut out some of the bunt practice, since that’s not working.  (Except for Aybar’s RBI bunt yesterday.  But Aybar is the exception to any rule.)  We already have an expert bat-flipper in Pujols; he could spearhead the training.  Look at this bat-flip:

 photo batflip_zpsoadgxus8.jpg

“Hit me again, Ike, and this time put some stank on it!”  You don’t even have to see a gif to get the full picture.  He’s not even running or jogging, he’s just striding from home plate (not scampering) and he’s silently telling the pitcher that if they were to have a measuring contest (you know what I mean), it wouldn’t even be close.  That’s dirty baseball, and it’s part of what makes the game fun.  
Speaking of dicks, let’s get back to Puig. (I kid.  I don’t really mind him, but he does present an easy target).  Take a look at this bat-flip after a walk-off HR:

That’s pretty tame for him, but it’s a well-earned and well-executed flip.  Beautiful.  Winning the game isn’t enough; you have to rub it in a bit.  It’s like when Conan was asked what is best in life, and he replied (paraphrasing here): “to crush you enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their idiotic fans.”  Wounds heal, but putting a little salt in them will make them hurt for a bit longer.  Bat-flips are the salt in the wound.  I want more of them.  

Save the theatrics for the WWE – by Nathan Trop

Caucasian, please!  I am not one to get caught up in unwritten rules and political correctness.  I don’t mind bunts when a pitcher has a no hitter going, unless it is 10-0 in the 8th, then that’s a bit of a douche move.  It isn’t about showing up the other team’s pitcher as much as it is looking like a total tool bag on the field.  Nothing gives me more joy than when Puig or Pujols make complete asses out of themselves by bat flipping a fly out; serves them right for showboating instead of putting their head down and running.  Showing off just causes vitriol and screams of attention whore, which is exactly what people say about Puig, a famous overzealous bat flipper.  In the last decade of Angels baseball there have been a couple guys that hit monster home runs – Vlad, Trumbo and Torii.  They never sat there and admired their home runs.  They never tossed the bat.  They just started their trot.  

There is no better way to show up a team than blasting one out of the park then trotting around the bases and celebrating with your teammates in the dugout.  Hell, you can even whisper a sweet nothing to them on your way home.  All the showboating that happens in the NFL is absurd.  You could break up a pass or sack the quarterback while being down four touchdowns in the fourth quarter and roided out NFL guy is humping the air, giving a fist pump and giving a team mate a hearty smack on the rear, and I think it should be a penalty every time it happens.  Just get up and get back to work.  Think of hockey, they don’t go give each other hugs after every check in the corner; the goalies don’t do a dance after they make a clutch block.  The only time they celebrate is after a goal and after a win.  That is how baseball should be too.  Score a run, high five your teammates, huge, play a little butt patty cake and get back to the game.
Love to hear what you think!

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