A baseball player had too much fun on Wednesday and a pitcher took offense, so bat flips are in the news again. In case you missed it, Tim Anderson hit a no-doubt home run to left field in the second inning at the park formerly known as the Cell. As you can see from MLB Barrel Alert he absolutely crushed this ball:
In the sixth inning, Brad Keller thought Anderson was a little too happy about that home run so Keller hit him with a pitch, which led to the benches clearing on the South Side and Joe West ejecting people. But the benches didn’t clear because Anderson murdered a Brad Keller two-seam fastball in the second. No, the drama came because Tim Anderson had the audacity to celebrate said home run with a pretty epic bat flip [VIDEO]:
I’m on the record as being pretty pro bat flip and frankly Keller should throw better pitches if he doesn’t like people celebrating home runs off of him, but this got me thinking about the large variety of bat flips and my favorite Cubs who deploy them. Since the Cubs have an off day I had way too much time to categorize a few of my favorites. Here they are below, in no particular order.
The Classic Bat Flip
The best example I have of the classic bat flip was in the 2015 American League Division Series Game between the Blue Jays and the Rangers when José Bautista crushed a 3-run homer to break a tie in the seventh. At the time it was the bat flip heard around the world, there were articles, video spots with statistical analysis, and the Rangers were so salty about it they held a grudge all off season before Rougned Odor decided to quite literally take matters into his own hands.
But before all of that, there was the bat flip.
What makes the classic bat flip a classic? As you can see below Bautista never changes hands with the bat, he finishes and then flips the bat upward. It’s all in the wrist, you see [VIDEO].
Go to minute 5 of the video below for my favorite classic bat flip from the 2018 season: David Bote’s wrist flip after his ultimate grand slam [VIDEO]:
The above example aside, Bote isn’t really a big bat flipper. Albert Almora Jr. is probably the most classic bat flipper on the Cubs. He doesn’t hit a lot of home runs, but he likes to celebrate other things too, and when he does, he does it with a classic wrist flip upward. Truth be told, he might need to practice that move a little more [VIDEO].
The Bat Throw
What got Anderson in trouble with Keller yesterday was less a bat flip and more a bat throw. Watch the video above again at :36 and you’ll see what I mean. What differentiates the bat throw from the bat flip for me is the hand transfer followed by throwing the bat away from the body with force.
My all-time favorite bat throw came last year from Javier Báez who absolutely crushed a ball to left field in Arizona. I liked it so much I wrote a few hundred words about it. Suffice to say, Javy decided to take the bat throw to the next level. Notice the crucial hand transfer moment before he both drops and pushes the bat away, almost casting it aside beneath him. It’s a thing of beauty [VIDEO].
The Bat Drop
The bat drop is sort of like a mic drop, but you know, with a bat. The Cubs happen to employ the foremost expert in bat drops in Willson Contreras. Contreras gets a lot of flak from people who hate fun in baseball because he loves the game a little too much for them, but I for one hope he never changes. He plays with his hair on fire. He would play, literally, with his heart on his sleeve if MLB would let him.
And as you can see from this montage of Willson’s ridiculous game last May 11 on his bobblehead day he drops the bat like no one else in the business [VIDEO].
The Bat Clap
The bat clap is the least common bat flip but definitely one of my favorite varieties. It’s uncommon because it requires a two-handed finish on the swing followed by a nearly simultaneous release of the bat in celebration. The greatest example of the bat clap was this gem by Kyle Schwarber last year as he pulled ahead of Rhys Hoskins in the home run derby [VIDEO]:
I could (and have) watch that Schwarber clip on loop. The bat clap does make rare appearances in games, although you have to keep an eye out for it. You can see Almora practicing his bat clap after this walkoff single against the Dodgers last June [VIDEO].
While the powers that be (and Randal Grichuk) argue all day about when, how and why players can flip their bats I think it’s pretty clear that bat flips are here to stay. Since they are fun and awesome we should all just get on board and celebrate our favorites. Did I miss any of your favorite bat flips in this article? Take a minute and share them in the comments.