In America, a bat flip guarantees that the pitcher will throw the ball at your head the next time the flipper enters the batters box. It is an act that leads to bench-clearing brawls and soul-searching conversations about how the integrity of the game. Even beer league softball frowns upon batters box celebrations.
Meanwhile, in Korea, bat flips are ubiquitous. It is natural. It is celebrated. It is playing the game the right way. In the same way that the NBA's most ferocious dunkers have signature slams, the stars in Korea have signature flips. We have to wonder about what bat flips might look like in Major League Baseball. Would Griffey's have been as sweet as his swing? Would Miggy's be as violent? Stanton's as terrifying?
Baseball culture in the United States may never accept the bat flip as an acceptable form of celebration — backwards hats almost caused an existential crisis in the early 90's, for crying out loud — but that can't keep us from dreaming. If players on the Indians roster began to defy convention and flip bats, what would some Indians player's look like?
The Indians most exciting young player provides some of the most exciting plays. This is not a shortstop that I would expect to reserve any emotion when hitting a dinger if Playing the Game the Right Way didn't involve grimacing after hitting the ball 425 feet. I think Frankie would show instant joy when driving the ball deep.
Sung-heun Hong, Kt Wiz (I think).
The Indians' second baseman is one of the best in the game at his position when not injured. His work ethic inspires teammates, and many around baseball confirm that he is one of the leaders of the team. I can't imagine him taking too much time to show off, even if he knows that a ball is gone. Would he enjoy a good flip? Of course. But he would make sure to hustle to first: THE KIP FLIP!
Il-mok Cha, Kia Tigers, 2015.
Lando Carlossian is ethereal. He frustrates those who cannot tap into the fabric of the baseball universe and understand that a man who walks a lot and hits a good number of bombs is valuable. If you are among those who don't understand why that's the case, I'm not even sure how you got here. Here's the thing: when he goes to Cloud City, as Jason Lukehart likes to call his dingers, they are often gargantuan blasts. He would definitely enjoy the sight before flinging the maple.
Byung-Ho Park, Nexen Heroes 2015. Now on the Twins! No bat flips!
A certain @MrLapara broke out in 2016. Many expected him to fulfill a utility role for the Indians, and in a way, he did. He just managed to play at an all-star caliber level at multiple positions. The young infielder/outfielder/future twitter Hall of Famer also had the best hair in the league last season. Jose doesn't hold back hung slider, so why would he hold back on the man who delivered it?
Jung Hoon, Lotte Giants, 2015
Trevor Bauer (?!)
Look, Bauer doesn't get to hit all that often. In the past, he used an opportunity to imitate several of his teammates. Bauer's competitive streak, offbeat nature, and sense of humor are all documented. I don't think it would even take a different world for Bauer to flip a bat if he hit a homer. It could be Spring Training, and I'm pretty sure he'd still do it. You can bet your ass that it would be phenomenal. There's only one bat flip in the world that I can imagine Bauer using, and we must venture away from the KBO now to show a true master at work.
If bat flipping is wrong then I don't want to be right anymore.