September 08, 2017
By: Gwen Begley
Some sing flip-flip-flipadelphia, and some go up in arms. My thoughts? Flip until you can flip no more! Yes, I am talking about the infamous bat flip as we welcomed seasoned bat-flipper Odubel Herrera to Coca-Cola Park on a rehabilitation assignment for the Phillies.
So what exactly is the issue with giving your bat the old flip after going yard? The hoopla seems to have started over Blue Jays Jose Bautista’s bat flipping tendencies that cleared the benches and started a controversy for the ages. Little do people know, bat flipping began long before the right fielder tossed that wooden stick in the air.
In fact, it began down 476 in none other than the beautiful city of Philadelphia. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer it was our beloved Jimmy Rollins who first sent his bat soaring into the crisp May air. This was in 2001 when the rookie hit a two-run home run off reliever Steve Kline from the St. Louis Cardinals. Kline, to say the least, was not happy about this form of “showboating” as he supposedly called it. I was only eleven at the time, but my mother seems to remember this bat-flip and how she, along with even the Phillies manager at the time, Larry Bowa, didn’t think it was that big of a deal.
So, it seems to be just the opposing team on the field that has a problem with flipping bats. Personally, I think its because they are sore losers. Perhaps throw a better fastball? If you don’t give up a home run, you’ve got no chance to see the ever-so “inappropriate” bat flip.
Yes, I hear the opposing arguments from the anti-flippers. They say that it is disrespectful to the game and that it's reminiscent of little league or backyard baseball. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the MLB just have a whole weekend dedicated to little league and bringing the “fun” back to baseball? I even asked IronPigs manager Dusty Wathan about the issue prior to Herrera’s call to the lineup. He laughed, shrugged, then said “hey, if it gets people to watch baseball, I’m all for it!”
If you couldn’t tell, I am ALL for the bat flip. I think it shows personality and flare, and adds a little something extra to a game that a lot of people (not me) consider boring. It's like adding a pinch of salt to an otherwise bland baked potato! Just consider Odubel Herrera the “salt bae” of the Phillies. You’re welcome.