The noticeable absence of the beloved Dodger bubble machine has been mourned by Dodger fans this season, but now things have gotten out of hand.
“I want to show American baseball that I’m not disrespecting the game.”
Yasiel Puig said that he is cutting back on bat flips.
It pains me to write that sentence, and you might remember I called for an increase in Puig bat flips last year when Puig was under all that unnecessary scrutiny for merely adding fun to a game we call baseball.
Now, if you are a Arizona Diamondbacks fan, San Francisco Giants or St. Louis Cardinals fan, you might feel that this is a good thing. I assure you, it isn’t.
Let me bring you back to the days of playing catch with your brother in the backyard or playing in the dirt road with your friends with a ball, bat and no glove. Cheering, jeering-yelling “ha ha” in each other’s faces when we hit something far were par for the course when you are a kid playing baseball for fun. Watching Yasiel Puig play harkens me back to those innocent times for some reason. His emotional, all-out style of play is my favorite type of player to watch.
If you don’t enjoy watching Puig throw out a runner at third base from right field or crushing huge homeruns over the fence at Dodger Stadium, you may be dead inside.
The batflip: a symbol of freedom.
The United States and Cuba have been rebuilding their relationship recently, so to ban the bat flip seems like a step back. Of course the bat flip, although common in countries other than Cuba, is not just a Puig thing. The Dodger outfielder has embraced the bat flip as a trademark of sorts, but the batflip is more than just a miscontrued arrogant victory dance. It also reflects the freedom which Puig now posseses after his tumultuous journey to the United States.
I understand that Puig wants to be taken seriously on and off the field. He is gaining maturity, and that will surely pay off on the baseball diamond. Yet taking away Puig’s spirit is not good for him or for the Dodgers. The Wild Horse, as dubbed by the legendary Vin Scully, should never be tamed. Breaking his spirit would also break the spirit of the fans as well.
I should not have to mention that their are numerous other victory dance like schticks around the MLB. We may even see Fernando Rodney shooting his arrow into the blue sky during the series with the Seattle Mariners this week. Unless the gesture is directly toward a competing player or on a personal level, then I do not see the big issue with a flick of the wrist at the tail end of a homerun swing.
We watched Barry Bonds show off against the Dodgers for years. When I think back to Barry Bonds, I wouldn’t want his swing changed from the iconic memory I have of him. The same goes for Dodgers and other players in baseball alike. If every player got in and out of the box the same (oh wait they can’t do that anymore either) and finished their swing the same way each time, then they have might as well start writing a script as well or playing with robots. Let’s not forget the new pitch clocks as well.
Let’s hope that Yasiel Puig saves up for one big bat flip in the World Series this Fall. Bubbles will fall from above.
Here’s to #MoarBatflips