There’s a war brewing amongst MLB fans and it all comes back to a few simple words: emotion, personality, and bat flipping. There’s generally two sides to the argument in this case, those who are “old-fashioned” and want the players to play their game and not be boastful or pimp a home run, celebrate a strikeout, or make too much out of it. Then are those who are the “new school” type that love the emotion players show, love the showboating, and love the personality it gives the game. Either school of thought is fine, but the game is changing and the players bringing emotion to it is only for the better.
There has been a lot of outcry from fans saying that games take too long and they are too boring to watch. The thing about bat flipping and “K strutting” as its referred too by most fans is that it adds energy, emotion, and personality to the game. The wildcard with all of this is Major League Baseball with their “Let the Kids Play” campaign is almost oxymoronic for what the league is doing when there’s an incident. The league is promoting that the players should play, have fun, show emotion, and keep great energy but when someone flips their bat and gets thrown at, the punishment is handed down to the hitter. Something that the MLB official twitter account shared.
— MLB (@MLB) March 27, 2019
Here’s the thing, take a look at baseball from more of a simplistic standpoint. When the hitter steps into the batters’ box, the setting is a battleground. The hitter versus the pitcher, that’s what hitting is all about, the hitter is trying to win the battle against the pitcher by getting on base and the pitcher is trying to strike him out to win the battle. A good way to think about it is, if you’re the hitter and you win, you should be entitled to celebrate, now that does not mean the player should flip his bat on a walk. If the batter takes a pitcher deep for a home run, there is absolutely no reason why the hitter is not allowed to be amped up and bat flip to celebrate.
So many people are taking issue with the bat flipping, “K struts” and a flashy style of play. There cannot be an issue when this is doing nothing but great things for the league, its allowing players to add personality to the game, which makes people want to go to more games, in turn bringing in more fans. This allows the fans to hopefully enjoy the game more, less “boring baseball” and more personality in the game.
Chris Archer REALLY wants to win the PitchingNinja K Strut of the Year Award. ? ? pic.twitter.com/wJO6N9dSwT
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 1, 2019
This is a two-way street, however, the pitcher is trying to send the batter packing. The pitchers should be allowed to celebrate too. Let’s say its that tough spot, seventh inning, the pitchers running out of gas, its a 1-0 close game and the pitcher strikes out the hitter. The pitcher should be allowed to celebrate, and “K strut” off the mound, it adds life and emotion to the game. Look at someone like Chris Archer from the Pittsburgh Pirates who ran backward off the mound after striking a batter out to end the inning.
Here’s the interesting part, Archer who pitches with a lot of emotion and energy also was not a fan of a Derek Dietrich “pimp job” and that’s where the new generation of fans should take issue. Bat flipping is good, “K Strutting” is good, it adds to the game and when Archer threw at Dietrich after his bat drop and stare at his home run. This prompted a brawl which prompted suspensions to players for the those involved including Archer. There are other players who are just as upset with these bat flips but also pitch with that same energy, confidence, and swagger. It has to be understood that it is a two-way street for hitters and pitchers alike.
#2 of the night and a career-high 16th home run for Derek Dietrich! pic.twitter.com/JkE6funUbp
— FOX Sports Ohio (@FOXSportsOH) May 29, 2019
Someone like Dietrich is playing the game with that swagger and emotion that keeps his team in it. The Cincinnati Reds are obviously not the best team in baseball right now, but Dietrich still plays the game with this swagger and emotion that allows him to get his team invested. When Deitrich wins a battle against a pitcher like he does in the video above, he enjoys it, drops the bat and watches the home run fly and then rounds the bases with swagger. He’s not the only one, look at the Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson. Anderson has publicly said, he is going to continue playing the way he does and the MLB seems to be all for it.
— MLB (@MLB) April 17, 2019
So this might just seem like an excuse to show up some of the best bat flips from 2019, which it is, but there is more to it. Anderson got thrown at for throwing his bat as he did in the video above, a brawl ensued and then Anderson was suspended for using the “n-word” in the brawl. Here’s the thing, this all started because of Anderson’s energy, he was hyped up after hitting a home run and he showed it.
The MLB needs to understand this, it’s good for the game, it brings personality to the game when players are playing the way these guys do. Look at Max Muncy and Madison Bumgarner and the incident they had earlier this month. Muncy hit a moonshot of a home run into McCovey Cove and then admired his home run when Bumgarner got angry. Bumgarner confronted Muncy who countered with the perfect answer saying “if you don’t want me to watch the ball then you can go get it out of the ocean.” These are two rival teams, two teams with a history and this just fuel it.
Whose side are you taking? Mad Bum’s or Max Muncy’s? pic.twitter.com/NerkiDP3Ai
— Nevada Sports Net (@NevadaSportsNet) June 10, 2019
Referencing above, there are two schools of thought, a fan either like bat flipping or does not and its all a matter of opinion. The thing that should most affect the opinion is what bat flipping does to the game, it is never an enemy to the game. Bat flipping and “K struts” are doing great things because its allowing players to show the emotion, create energy for their teams, and celebrate a victory against the hitter or pitcher.
Its a matter of opinion, no one is right or wrong for being against bat flipping, but if the best interest of the game of baseball is important… then bat flipping should be tolerated by fans and the league. If the game is so “boring” then let the flipping and strutting give it life, let it be “revived”, and let it grow. It’s a new generation of baseball, bat flipping is here to stay whether it is embraced or not. The youth of the game like Fernando Tatis Jr. and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. play the game with emotion which should only do good things for the game and could help breed future MLB stars.