I may be a little late for that sweet bat-flipping SEO juice to drip into my gaping click maw, but it needs to be said: The Cleveland Indians seem to be pro bat-flip and that’s cool. This is a fun group of players, and it’s slowly coming out that they are indeed OK with having fun on a baseball field. Who knew?
Major League Baseball pretended like they agreed as well with their #LetTheKidsPlay” campaign, but unfortunately back peddled when big kid Tim Anderson played and they suspended him for a game for it. But not everyone has to be against tossing the ole hickory rod around. A growing number of MLB players not named Randal Grichuk are all for it, and those who aren’t (yet are also all for throwing small, bullet-like objects at people) are quickly rounded up and shamed on Twitter.
So that leads to a curious question: Exactly how many Indians players are pro-bat flip?
Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon Journal already did a lot of the legwork for this when he asked around the Indians locker room to gauge their feelings on bat flips, and the results—at least the ones he discussed—were all in the positives. Mike Clevinger, Tyler Naquin, and Jake Bauers all bent the knee to House Bat Flip and pledged their loyalty to varying degrees.
Bauers went all the hell in on it:
“I’m not out there to be boring,” Bauers said. “I’m out there to entertain the people in the stands and the people watching from home. I think they’d much rather see you hit a big home run and flip your bat 1,000 feet in the air than just put your head down and run.”
Oh? What about players getting hit for their celebrations?
“I think that’s bull----,” Bauers said. “Me flipping my bat has no effect on your health, your comfort level on the mound, but the second you hit somebody, these guys are throwing 95, and if it hits you the wrong way and breaks a bone and puts you out for a couple months all because you can’t handle me beating you, that’s bull----.”
“Yeah, and quite frankly, I think it’s soft,” Bauers said. “You feel like you can’t get me out, so the only way you think you can get even with me is hitting me? No. I think there should be something where if you hit someone and it’s clearly on purpose, you should have to f------ stand there and let me chuck a ball at you or hit you with a bat or something. You’re throwing at someone who can’t retaliate without getting a suspension. It’s ridiculous.”
“But you can’t have it both ways,” Bauers said. “You see guys jumping around on the mound and getting fired up after a strikeout are sometimes the same guys who get pissed off at somebody who flips their bat after a home run.”
*backflips out of chair*
Tyler Naquin had no issue with it either.
“You’ve got a bunch of grown men with a lot of hype, and they’re aggressive and they’re competitors,” Indians outfielder Tyler Naquin said. “But unless you’ve got a personal conflict with that dude off the field, I don’t know. There are big moments and guys want to celebrate them. It’s hard not to be excited.”
Mike Clevinger took the typical pitcher’s approach, saying that he’s for it, as long as it’s to fire your own team up and not mock a pitcher.
“If you’re disrespectful to me personally, I’m still going to be a grown man handling my business. But you flip your bat to make your teammates laugh or pump your dugout up, you’re supposed to do that.”
Clevinger also jokingly said that he’d “rather throw hands than balls at people,” which is just fantastic.
It’s more than just these three, too. Trevor Bauer came out in support of bat-flipping fairly quickly after Tim Anderson’s flip. He told MLB Network’s Inside Pitch that he thought it was great, and it’s downright dangerous for pitchers to be throwing at players over something as silly as a home run. Best of all, if you flip a bat on Trevor, all he wants to do is strike you out the next time. That’s the right mentality.
As for the rest of the team, there are a couple assumptions and confirmations we can make. For one, José Ramírez is all for it, right? He does have the best Indians bat flip in recent memory, after all, when he flipped that sucker right in front of Paul Molitor and almost caused him to wet his mom jeans.
Keep in mind, this is 2015 before the Indians really have anything to be cocky about. They were closing out another disappointing season before taking the league by surprise a year later. This also occurred when the Twins walked Jason Kipnis specifically to face the not-yet-broken-out José. He admired his beaut of a shot before rounding the bases and gently floated the bat towards the Twins dugout.
Later in game, Eddie Rosario even felt the need to stare José down rounding the bases after his big-time home run that brought the score to 10-2, Indians. Molitor’s big whiny reaction would become a well-deserved meme, and José would go on to put up back-to-back MVP caliber seasons. While he’s never verbally came out in support of bat-flipping, José is clearly on our side, and he’s one of two confirmed bat flippers among current Indians.
You may also remember another bat flip from 2015, when José Bautista had maybe the best bat flip ever in the ALCS. It’s been four years and I’m not a fan of the Blue Jays or even necessarily Jose Bautista, but that bad boy still fires me right up every time I watch it. It was still a controversial topic at the time it happened, with a lot of people on the no-fun side, and it led to a lot of serious debate in the offseason, which almost seems silly now.
In that maelstrom of the 2015-2016 offseason, I asked Francisco Lindor when I interviewed him what he thought about bat flips. The then-21-year-old took a long pause before he answered, but he eventually came down on the right side of history.
I think it’s the moment of the game that will take you to a bat flip. I don’t think it has to be that much, but I loved it, you know. It’s just, I don’t think he was doing it to show up the pitcher or show the game up. I don’t think he thinks he’s bigger than the game. The moment takes you that reaction. It was a very big home run.
I was a Latin player back home, and we kind of play the game like that. We don’t think we’re bigger than the game because we’re not. The game will never stop because of us. It’s just adrenaline takes you to that point. He didn’t do it to show anybody up. He just obviously felt good as anybody would.
Four years is a long time for opinions to change, especially for someone in their early 20’s, but I have a feeling Lindor still shares this same sentiment. Maybe even more confidently now that enjoying bat flips is the growing side of the argument.
More of a toss than a flip, but remember Roberto Pérez lightly releasing his bat after he homered in the World Series (on that note, remember when Roberto Pérez HOMERED IN THE WORLD SERIES?! TWICE?!)? Well, he did.
That’s a confirmed flipper, friends.
While Carlos Gonzalez technically has not flipped a bat, he did lay it down very aggressively when he hit a monster home run in San Francisco back in 2013. Is this enough to assume he would be OK flipping a bat? I’m inclined to say yes, but to preserve the sanctity of the (un)Official Indians Bat Flip Stance Tracker 2019, we’ll leave it as unconfirmed for now.
But look at this beauty.
With all that in mind, I present the (un)Official Indians Bat Flip Stance Tracker 2019. I’ll try to update it as more important bat flip information comes through (please feel free to at @mattrly to alert me of updates), but for now we have at least a few confirmed pro-flippers and thankfully no Randal Grichuk’s.
Here’s where everyone currently on the active roster stands:
- Corey Kluber: Unknown
- Trevor Bauer: Pro Flipper
- Carlos Carrasco: Unknown
- Mike Clevinger: Pro Flipper
- Shane Bieber: Unknown*
- Cody Anderson: Unknown
- Adam Cimber: Unknown
- Brad Hand: Unknown
- Tyler Olson: Unknown
- Dan Otero: Unknown
- Oliver Pérez: Unknown
- Neil Ramírez: Unknown
- Nick Wittgren: Unknown
- Roberto Pérez: Confirmed Flipper
- Kevin Plawecki: Unknown
- Mike Freeman: Unknown
- Jason Kipnis: Unknown
- Francisco Lindor: Pro Flipper
- Max Moroff: Unknown (but pro chicken fingers)
- José Ramírez: Confirmed Flipper
- Carlos Santana: Unknown
- Greg Allen: Unknown
- Jake Bauers: Pro Flipper
- Carlos González: Unknown
- Leonys Martin: Unknown
- Tyler Naquin: Pro Flipper
*His clubhouse BFF’s, Mike Clevinger and Trevor Bauer, are both pro-flipper, so I would assume Shane Bieber is too, but it’s not confirmed. If any media members could use your valuable time on this earth and media credentials to confirm this, I’d really appreciate it.
**Let’s Go Tribe would like to apologize for the lede of this article. You have our word that “juice” and “gaping” will never appear in the same sentence on this site ever again. Thank you.