Like many of those having anything to do with baseball, Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta has some opinions on the celebratory flipping of bats. So let’s get right to it and let you know what the 2015 NL Cy Young winner thinks about bat-flippers ...
Arrieta on a player bat flipping him after a HR. "If he's a vet + earned it no prob. If he's a young guy he might wear next one in the ribs"— David Kaplan (@thekapman) March 7, 2017
So it’s a punishable offense by a non-tenured bat-flipper, but the veteran bat-flipper in essence has diplomatic immunity on this front. This probably isn’t all that of an unconventional opinion among veteran pitchers. It’s kind of silly, of course. I mean, if you don’t want hitters to celebrate home runs, then don’t allow home runs. Also, don’t the post-strikeout fist-pumps and primal screams of pitchers “show up” the hitter in a similar manner? Why isn’t this punishable by projectile?
Mostly, I’m fine with ballplayers handling this within the bounds of their culture and reality. Granted, the rest of us can’t go around throwing things at industry competitors who annoy us, but pro athletes are nothing if not bred to feel special. At some point, bat-flipping, because of baseball’s changing demographics, is going to become routinely accepted, and until then the social machinery of the game will sort all this out. Hitters might flip bats, and then might get plunked. In turn, the pitcher or one of his teammates might get plunked, and then shouting and stomping and finger-pointing and light grappling might occur. You’ll see these two camps occasionally bruise against each other until a pro-bat flipping consensus is established. Until then, offense-seeking pitchers will find offense.