We proudly champion ourselves as longtime bat flip advocates, and the recent rise in bat flip appreciation over the last few years has been a pleasant development. We think about bat flips a lot and we've determined that there are three main reasons why bat flips are #GoodThings:
Bat flips are a genuine and visceral expression of emotion on the part of the hitter.
Bat flips are aesthetically pleasing.
Bat flips are usually preceded by home runs. (Baseball is the only sport where one can score a point and give fans a souvenir at the same time. Home runs are also #GoodThings.)
If you agree, awesome! If you disagree, awesome! Everyone is different! Without further ado, let's chat about bat flip graphs. (Click on the graphs to enlarge.)
When should you flip your bat?
While bat flips are usually great, there are certain moments when it's probably better just to put your head down and jog around in a circle. These moments are primarily dictated by the score of the game. Let's use Blue Jays outfielder/over-the-fence-ball-proprietor Jose Bautista as an example.
2015 ALCS. Dinger turned a 3-3 game in the 7th to a 6-3 game. Maybe the greatest bat flip of all-time.
2017 regular season: Dinger turned an 8-3 deficit into an 8-4 deficit in a game in mid-May. This did not make the opposition very happy:
This Jose Ramirez dinger shows that bat-flipping up nine runs, in September, for a team out of the playoff hunt, might not be the best look.
The Twins dugout was not amused:
Bat Flip Landing Acceptability Heatmap
Ramirez's flip also introduces a key factor to bat flip acceptability: where the bat lands.
Much like the infamous Boomstick there's a lot to digest here. Let's dive in:
1. Don't flip your bat toward the pitcher.
2. Don't flip your bat at the pitcher.
3. Don't flip your bat toward another position player.
4. Don't flip your bat near the umpire. Yasiel Puig did this one time on a walk and it was super entertaining but everyone freaked out.
5. Don't flip your bat into the opposing dugout.
6. Flipping a bat towards your own dugout is totally fine. Example: This bonkers-ly awesome Carlos Delgado bat flip from his four homer game.
7. These are the most common spots for a bat flip to land. Getting into a little bit of open space also allows room for style points. Example:
8. This spot is more common for a cool bat drop (see: Cano, Griffey), but one current big leaguer always keeps his flips close to home. Because of his swing path, Kole Calhoun's bat flips usually end up right on top of home plate. Bizarre, but acceptable.
9. Bringing the bat with you down the first-base line is a weird one, and it kind of depends on the situation. The previously mentioned Ramirez flip was frowned upon, but this walk-off Marwin Gonzalez flip happened in a similar spot. Bat flips, like life, are all about context.
10. Though technically more of an accidental bat toss, the bat landing spot on this wonky Todd Frazier dinger didn't seem too dangerous and was cool to watch. This probably means that as long as it's clearly an accident and you don't hit anyone, your bat can land wherever.
11. Not even sure how a hitter could flip a bat this far unless they resort to an Olympic hammer throw technique. Can you imagine a hitter launching an upper-deck homer, pausing and doing this?
Oh my god, that would be incredible.
Why Your Bat Flip Caused A Reaction, A Pie Chart
Bat flips on balls that the hitter thinks are gonna go out, but don't, are understandably subject to scorn from the opposing team, commentators, the player's own coaches, etc. But for fans, those are some of the most entertaining ones. Take Yasiel Puig's infamous playoff triple bat flip from 2013:
Puig's realization that, "Oh whoops, this is not a homer" is absolutely incredible. The progression of flip to point to walk to jog to run to sprint is so good. Underrated part? He didn't even need to slide.
Who is doing the flipping? Odubel Herrera is Doing the Flipping
If you've watched the Phillies center fielder's development from being a Rule 5 Draft pick just a few years ago to one of the most exciting players in baseball, you know what he's all about. There are a number of notorious flippers in the game today, but no one does it with such grace, such passion and perhaps most importantly, such complete disregard for the type of ball he has hit (or not hit!). For example...
A home run:
A sac fly:
A foul ball:
He is the undisputed king, and we are so lucky to have him. We're still waiting on the bunt flip that we suggested to him at the All-Star Game last summer:
South Korea is the Bat Flip Capital of the World
Idaho makes potatoes, Iowa makes corn, Switzerland makes chocolate and South Korea makes bat flips. The KBO has established itself as the globe's premier location for bat flippage.
As proud Americans, we can only hope that one day our great nation will catch up to Korea in bat flip output. But for now, all we can do is watch in awe.