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Bautista: ‘Bat Flipping’ Is Good For Baseball

Bautista: ‘Bat Flipping’ Is Good For Baseball

Former Toronto Blue Jays star Jose Bautista has waded into the ongoing controversy over excessive celebrations by Major League Baseball players.

Bautista sparked massive controversy in 2015 when he celebrated a crucial three-run home against the Texas Rangers with a ‘bat flip’.

While Bautista’s effort secured a 6-3 victory for the Blue Jays in a winner-take-all Game 5 in their American League Division Series, his celebration was widely condemned.

The Rangers called Bautista ‘disrespectful’ while many pundits described the move as ‘not being in the spirit of the game’.

Despite not being banned by the official rules, bat flipping has traditionally been frowned upon within the sport.

Although Bautista was not the first player to use the celebration, he believes the circumstances of the situation warranted his over-exuberance.

In a recent interview with MLB odds site Betway, the 41-year-old explained how his iconic moment came to fruition.

“I grew up watching guys bat flip,” he said. “I think the difference between this one and others was the moment.

“It was the defining moment in the series, the reaction of the fans, that connection with the fans, the fact that we hadn’t been to the playoffs for 22 years, the back and forth in that series, the back and forth in that game.

“Even within that inning, the errors that the Rangers made to put us in that position where I had the chance to come in and hit the home run. The build-up is what made it stand out.”

Many people connected to baseball still argue that allowing the unwritten MLB rule to continuously be broken is detrimental to the sport.

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It has been argued that it is not only hugely disrespectful to the pitcher, but also shows general contempt for a team’s opponents.

However, what often gets overlooked by the people making this argument is that it is deemed acceptable for pitchers to rough up batters whenever the mood takes them.

Bautista’s antics undoubtedly did not find favour with the Rangers, with the bitterness spilling over into a meeting between the two sides the following season.

Rangers’ right-hander Matt Bush hit Bautista with a hard fastball in the eighth inning, firing up the Blue Jays star who went into second base with a hard slide just moments later.

This sparked mayhem, with Rangers star Roughned Odor taking exception to Bautista’s behaviour. Punches were traded and players from both sides became involved in an ugly brawl.

Odor was banned for eight games and fined $5,000 for instigating the melee, while Bautista received a one-game suspension.

Despite the ill-feeling he caused by the original bat flip, Bautista is happy to see that it inspired many other players to ramp up their celebrations.

He insists baseball has an obligation to entertain the fans who pay their hard-earned money to watch the sport and believes traditionalists should move with the times.

“I’m certainly glad that the fact that I did that has now made it a little bit more acceptable to celebrate, to bat flip, because it’s all about fan engagement and emotion,” added Bautista.

“It’s a game of emotion. It’s about getting people excited, getting people looking forward to success, getting people to enjoy the celebration when their team and their favourite player does something great.

“Now that some time has passed by, bat flipping has actually become a thing again, kind of like a touchdown celebration in football or a goal celebration in soccer.

“I’m glad that has happened. I’m glad that people don’t see it as breaking that unwritten rule so much anymore. It’s good for the game, it’s good for the fans, it’s good for the players. Why not?”

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