Be honest, you knew this day was coming. There was no world where we were going to celebrate the 12 Days of Cubsmas without celebrating the bat flip. After all, I already devoted a few hundred words earlier this year to categorizing bat flips and that was before Nicholas Castellanos joined the team and invented the bat slam. Well, today is the day it’s time to look at the seven most epic bat flips, slams and drops of the 2019 season:
#7: Taylor Davis’ grand slam
As bat flips go this one was pretty subtle, but well deserved. The Cardinals had a four-run lead when they decided they’d rather face Taylor Davis with the bases loaded than deal with Kyle Schwarber. So they intentionally walked Schwarber, bringing Davis to the plate. Davis didn’t have a hit in 2019 at that point, but he changed that with an exclamation point in this at bat. You can see the subtle bat flip at :53 in this clip [VIDEO].
#6: Javy Báez drops the bat
On June 4 the Cubs beat the Rockies 6-3 and the Cubs put on a bit of a light show with monster home runs from both Kyle Schwarber and Javier Báez. After Javy’s shot to centerfield he didn’t so much as flip the bat as drop it, you know, like you would a mic - but with a bat. You can see it at :44 of this clip and it’s beautiful [VIDEO].
#5: Victor Caratini’s statuesque bat drop
On August 29 Victor Caratini was the Cubs offense. All of it. The Cubs won the game 4-1. Caratini had all four RBIs on two home runs, a solo shot to tie the game in the second and a three run shot in the seventh. Caratini isn’t the Cubs’ catcher most known for bat flips (more on my favorite in a minute) but on this night he showed his own version of swag as he watched his second home run of the night go and dropped the bat with style [VIDEO].
#4: Albert Almora Jr. hits a go-ahead home run in extras
Let’s be clear, Almora didn’t have a great season in 2019, but there were still moments to celebrate including this 10th-inning blast against the Brewers in Milwaukee in July. Almora’s 11th home run of the season briefly gave the Cubs a late lead against a division rival. Almora clearly enjoyed this one, you can see his classic bat flip along with a bit of a skip down the baseline at the :30 second mark [VIDEO].
#3: Willson Contreras drops the bat on Tyler Flowers
Let’s be honest, Willson Contreras has a knack for big moments and he isn’t shy about how he reacts to them. On June 24 Tyler Flowers had a little too much to say during Willson’s first at bat and when Willson went deep on the next pitch he dropped his bat. Right at Tyler Flowers’ feet. The benches cleared as Flowers and Contreras jawed at each other a bit. Even more bizarrely, Flowers stayed up all night replying to instagram posts about it. Willson definitely got the last word on this one [VIDEO].
#2: Willson tries his hand at a bat slam
Willson spent a few weeks on the Injured List in 2019 but made it back to have an impact in September. His first at bat back he crushed a monster shot 450 feet into the left field bleachers. You can see a fuller video of the bat slam at number 31 on MLB’s top 40 bat flips of 2019, but I figured you’d want to see the home run too [VIDEO].
#1: Nicholas Castellanos perfects the bat slam
Nichola Castellanos came up big for the Cubs after the trade deadline. His bat was even better than advertised but the pure joy he played the game with also left a mark on his new team. On August 30 Castellanos came up big in a must win game against the Brewers. For his second home run of the day he invented a new riff on the bat slam and I loved everything about this two-handed half-turn spike of the bat to celebrate a ridiculous home run to left field [VIDEO].
On the seventh day of Cubsmas my true love gave to me: seven epic bat flips, six walk off wins, five games out of the playoffs, four Alec Mills starts, three Nico homers, two fWAR from Castellanos and a David Ross for manager.