Bat flips are back.
That’s right, the performance art known as bat flipping has made its electrifying return as baseball finally roared back to life this week. Once regarded as a social taboo by baseball’s old guard (aka the fun police), bat flipping has risen to prominence in recent years as MLB players far and wide seek to express themselves at the expense of pitchers’ dignity everywhere. However, I know it’s been a while for some of you, so here’s a quick refresher:
bat flip verb
bat·flip | \ ˈbat-,ˈflip \
Definition of bat flip (Entry 1 of 1)
1: a celebrative ritual performed after one smacks a baseball into next month
2: a formal declaration of disgust (and sometimes disappointment) directed towards the opposing pitcher for “coming in here with that garbage” (i.e. being caught slipping)
3: an expression of personal identity and flair to fire up teammates and spectators after disrespecting the opposing pitcher and team with your raw power and grace
This weekly column will serve as a celebration of the finer points of bat flipping culture, and each week we will collect and rank the top bat flips from around the MLB. To be clear, this isn’t an article highlighting the furthest or most impressive home runs (though these are plenty impressive). This is all about flair, emotion, and raw swagger.
Remember, these rankings are 100% definitive and accurate, so be sure to sound off in the comments or on Twitter about your favorites or the ones you think missed the cut.
Here we go, Number 8:
7/28 – CHC @ CIN
420ft, 105.1 mph, 30° launch angle
Javy Báez seemed to do it all as the Cubs knocked the Reds pitching staff around for 8 runs on Tuesday night. After already having gone 2 for 4 with a double and a home run earlier in the game, El Mago performed his final trick when he made a Michael Lorenzen slider disappear deep into the Cincinnati night. He then dropped his bat like a hot mic and took his victory lap around the bases, while the cardboard cutouts headed for the parking lot.
7. Edwin Encarnación vs. Zack Littel
7/25 – MIN @ CWS
384ft, 104.5 mph, 39° launch angle
Edwin Encarnación gave Zack Littel a rough welcome back to The Show when he crushed a first-pitch meatball for a two-run shot in the 5th inning of Saturday’s game. Edwin tossed the bat away in disgust before raising the parrot for the first time in 2020 and his first time with the White Sox.
6. Fernando Tatís Jr. vs. Jeff Samardzija
7/28 – SD @ SF
346ft, 100.6 mph, 33° launch angle
While this may not take the top spot for bat flips this time, this opposite-field bomb from Fernando Tatís Jr. has an argument for the most impressive home run from the first week of baseball’s return. Tatis somehow drives a low-and-in pitch from Jeff Samardzija out of the park to right field, an exceedingly rare feat for righthanded hitters at the cavernous Oracle Park. It’s an effortless display of strength punctuated by a long trot and relaxed bat toss down the first base line. This is also another great reminder that the NL West is absolutely spoiled with shortstop talent and refuses to share. Not fair.
Dad Strength: 9.5
7/29 – CHC @ CIN
382ft, 96.4 mph, 34° launch angle
The Moose was loose last night as the Reds TEED OFF on Kyle Hendricks and the Cubs. This monster jack to right field opened up the floodgates for the Cincinnati, which went on to score seven runs the following inning. Moustakas looked to be feeling just fine in his return to the lineup, and fired up his teammates with a spirited bat flip and fist pump as he rounded the bases.
7/27 – MIL @ PIT
438ft, 109.4 mph, 30° launch angle
Colin Moran had a good Monday night as he clocked two dingers into the Pittsburgh night sky off of the Milwaukee Brewers. His second homer came in the seventh inning when he cooled off a Devin Williams heater with a late-night swim in the Allegheny River. After taking a few steps to appreciate his work, Moran rewarded Williams with a saucy bat twirl for his efforts.
7/24 – ATL @ NYM
406ft, 103.5 mph, 32° launch angle
Yoenis Céspedes loudly announced his return to baseball by tattooing a fastball from Atlanta reliever Chris Martin deep into the left field bleachers in the 7th inning of the Mets opener on Friday. It was his first major league home run since the summer of 2018, and Céspedes took some time to admire the blast as it had to feel pretty good. Yo is officially back, baby, and the league has been put on notice.
7/25 – MIN @ CWS
399ft, 108 mph, 21° launch angle
The timeless Nelson Cruz came out of the gates hot on Opening Weekend, and tallied his first home run of the new season when he mollywhopped a Steve Cishek fastball for a three-run blast. At 40 years old, the veteran slugger is still feasting on pitchers and shows no signs of stopping, and even collected A.L. Player of the Week honors for his opening performance. At this rate, Cruz will still be hanging around the MLB as a bench bat by the time Vladimir Guerrero III debuts.
Forgetting to drop the bat until you’re almost to first base: Priceless
1. Ji-Man Choi vs. Anthony Kay
7/26 – TOR @ TBR
429ft, 109.9 mph, 20° launch angle
Ji-Man Choi can apparently hit from the right side now?! Sure, why not. Choi turns on an 0-0 hospital pitch from Anthony Kay and launches it out of the deep part of the park, 429 feet to left-center. As if rolling out of bed and being able to switch-hit wasn’t enough, Choi caps off his homer with a gorgeous twirling bat flip down the third base line, easily the best of the week. Another reminder that this is Ji-Man Choi’s world, and we’re all just living in it.
Spontaneity: 11 (seriously, how??)
That just about caps off the first week of the Bat Flip Thunderdome! Which ones were your favorites? If you disagree with any of the rankings (doubtful) or are noticing some omissions, let me hear about it in the comments below.
Until next week!
Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire