Okay y’all, it’s time to talk about something that makes no goddamn sense to me. Why is it that Pitchers get mad at Bat Flips? Or really…at anything other than like, direct personal insults and attacks?
For as long as there have been athletes, there has been competition. The higher the level? The greater the competition. With that competitive streak comes celebration. If you think that’s a bad thing…well…I think you’re dumb. Everyone at home watching a game in a bar can run around screaming, hitting high fives and chugging shots at the bar but the guy who actually did something should calmly go about his day?
No f**king way. Flip that goddamn bat.
The Keller / Anderson Catfight
I’ve thought about this for a long time, but after the Keller/Anderson debacle the other day, it feels like it’s time for a conversation to start. To get you up to speed, here’s what happened. Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson hit a dinger in the fourth inning. He got amped. Why? BECAUSE HE JUST HIT A GODDAMN HOME RUN IN THE MAJOR LEAGUES. That’s exciting. You SHOULD get hyped. Here’s the video.
Now look, at some point I’ll write a follow up on beautiful bat flips, because what Anderson did isn’t one of them. But like, cool, he threw the bat back towards his dugout with a motion that caused it to turn in the air and yelled something that probably resembled “COME ON!”
Royals Pitcher Brad Keller didn’t take too kindly. Here’s Anderson’s next at-bat:
Time for an aside
Hey Pitchers? Hi. You don’t know me, and as a not-quite-30 actor in New York City you probably don’t give a shit about my opinion. But here it is.
If you intentionally hit someone with a pitch, you’re human garbage. I don’t care what the situation is. I don’t care what they’ve done to you. A baseball thrown by a pitcher can do serious damage to a human. The batter literally cannot retaliate in any way that could remotely equal the damage you can cause. If you want to throw at a batter, then the batter should get to chase you with the bat and take one swing before being ejected.
In other words, if you hit someone with the ball in a way that an umpire even SMELLS like it might be intentional, you’re gone. If you hit someone accidentally but the umpire honestly can’t tell? You’re gone. Sorry. Get your ball under control. If you hit someone with a pitch and your immediate reaction isn’t to jog in, apologize, and make sure you’re cool? You’re gone. Do not throw the ball at batters.
But the disrespect!
Ah yes, the old disrespect argument. “It’s disrespectful to flip a bat or celebrate an important hit.” F**k off and learn to get some thicker skin. You’ll be fine. It’s part of the game. If you don’t want someone to flip a bat, maybe try not giving them a ball they can take to the house.
But Ned, if batters should be allowed to celebrate with no repercussions (Author’s Aside: potentially career-altering injuries is not a repercussion to celebrating a competitive achievement. If you find those equatable you’re human garbage) then what can pitchers do?
I’m so glad you asked.
Why don’t pitchers celebrate?
The number one thing we can say about a bat flip, is apparently it gets under a pitcher’s skin. So why not turn the tables? Let me set a scene for you.
Sunday, April 21st. 4:00 PM – Busch Stadium
It’s the middle of the 6th inning in the Mets vs. Cardinals match in St. Louis. Noah Syndergaard is on the mound and the game has been crazy. A good amount of hits for both teams, but no runs, but now the Mets find themselves with bases loaded, only one out, Paul Dejong at bat. After taking it to a full count, Syndergaard fans Dejong with an off-speed pitch to the outside corner. Mets fans take a sharp intake of breath. Noah balls his hand into a celebratory fist.
Out comes Marcell Ozuna. This is it. It all comes down to this. First two pitches are taken foul by Ozuna. Syndergaard tries to catch him looking but Ozuna has patience. It’s a 2-2 count. Syndergaard throw s a slider that Ozuna takes looking. The inning is retired, Mets get out of it. Syndergaard raises 1 finger to the sky, and starts headbanging to the between inning music, unloading an epic air guitar solo while the rest of the infield comes in and plays the other instruments.
It is awesome. The Cardinals are pissed.
They also have no right to be.
They don’t want the defense celebrating a great moment in a tense game? Maybe connect with the ball. You don’t want batters to flip a bat? Maybe strike them out. Rather than retaliate and potentially injure these hyper-competitive players at the top of their game, beat them at it. Be better at getting under their skin. Make them swing wildly.
Oh, and Baseball will get a lot more entertaining too.
Author’s Note: I love Baseball, this is not meant to say that Baseball isn’t entertaining.
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