WATCH: Jose Ramirez bat flip angers Twins dugout
Even manager Paul Molitor furiously waved at Ramirez to 'Get the [bleep] off the field!' after his three-run homer. Pitcher Ricky Nolasco did not see the flip but promised that 'He'll get his. Don't worry.'
Bat flips, even when they seem like fun and spontaneous celebrations of the moment for the flipper, can arouse deep-seated feelings about bad sportsmanship among those who feel flipped off.
Take what happened when Jose Ramirez of the Indians hit a three-run home run against the Twins in the ninth inning Wednesday, and did an exaggerated bat flip as he watched the ball head for the right-field seats at Progressive Field. Ramirez's homer, his sixth this season and eighth of his career, gave the Indians a 10-1 lead. It also came after an intentional walk, which might have fired him up a little bit. Ramirez responded by hitting a home run and rubbing the Twins' collective noses in it -- an amusing but clear violation of baseball's unwritten rules.
Twins pitcher Ricky Nolasco didn't notice Ramirez's actions at the time, but Twins personnel in the dugout did -- and they gave Ramirez grief as he crossed home plate. From catcher Kurt Suzuki, to coaches Tom Brunansky and Joe Vavra, and even manager Paul Molitor, who has a reputation for being somewhat mild-mannered. Not here.
"Get the [bleep] off the field!" Molitor shouted several times as he angrily waved Ramirez away.
Suzuki wasn't even that nice, as perhaps you can tell from reading lips on the video:
As for Nolasco, he told MLB.com:
"I didn't realize what he was doing. I kind of wish I did," Nolasco said. "I didn't know until I got into the dugout and they were talking about it. It's frustrating. I came in here and looked at it on the computer. It was pretty [bad]. He'll get his. Don't worry."
Ramirez said he realized he made a mistake.
"I think the emotion got me," said Ramirez, who used Indians pitcher Danny Salazar as an interpreter. "That's my bad. If they hit me. I'm going to take it."
Molitor took exception to Ramirez's antics.
"Players get comfortable doing things that some people might interpret as disrespectful," Molitor said. "So, we reacted a bit there."
It's likely that the Twins didn't appreciate the timing of Ramirez's flip, as much they didn't like the style. If the bat flip comes after a home run that gives the Indians the lead, or wins the game, perhaps the Twins overlook it. It punctuated a blowout in a big loss with the postseason on the line.
Despite the apology, despite the apologetic comments by Indians manager Terry Francona --who said it was "Poor judgment" on the part of Ramirez to act like that -- it sounds like the Twins are preparing to punish Ramirez.
"Baseball player stuff," Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor said. "Nobody needs to know."
Ramirez definitely disrespected the Twins with his bat flip, but their profane reaction seemed a bit over the top, as well. If there's something to be handled (and it always gets messy when we're talking about payback with dangerous purpose pitches), well, it's also OK to handle it by being cool.
There's also the old sayings: "Don't give up three-run homers. Win more games. Make the playoffs when given a chance." Play better, and who cares what .221-hitting, 70 adjusted OPS Jose Ramirez is doing? But no, with your season on the verge of going down the drain, make some guy's bat flip the focus of your attention. That's not what a winning team does.