WATCH: Tom Lawless flipped a bat in 1987 and no one cared

Tom Lawless, walking down the line three times as long as Jose Bautista did.
Tom Lawless, walking down the line three times as long as Jose Bautista did. (YouTube)

This just in: Baseball players who hit home runs sometimes "pimp" them by walking a few steps down the line and/or flipping their bats in celebration. The latest example was Blue Jays' slugger Jose Bautista with what was essentially a series-clinching homer and it was followed with a bunch of complaining, namely from the Rangers.

We heard plenty of variations of the tired tropes:

- "Play the game the right way"

- "Respect the game"

- "Act like a professional"

- "Act like you've been there before"

And, the worst one ...

- "This wouldn't have happened back in (insert generation while remembering it with revisionist history)."

Um, yeah, it would have. It did.

Hey, for fun let's watch Tom Lawless homer in the 1987 World Series.

Look at that. I counted nine seconds before he starts running. On the Bautista homer, it was three seconds. Lawless' bat flip? I think Yasiel Puig would be jealous of that.

And what do we get afterward? Announcers laughing. I found game stories from the New York Times and Los Angeles Times in which there were zero complaints about being professional or not playing the right way. Lawless was never hit by a pitch in retaliation. I can't find any record of people kicking and screaming about how big a "punk" Lawless was.

Oh, sure, things are much different nowadays. They are different because everyone is so much more sensitive than they used to be and whines about things that ultimately don't matter much.

Next time you see a bat flip, think about Tom Lawless. If you didn't freak out then, don't freak out now. Please? Pretty please?

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered every World Series since 2010. The former Indiana University baseball player now lives on the... Full Bio

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