Have we finally entered a post-unwritten rules world in Major League Baseball in 2019? We can all hope so, but there was some tension over the last 24 hours with fans upset at a flip of the bat from Bryce Harper after he hit a monster, 458-foot home run to right field off of Jeremy Hellickson in the eighth inning of his first game back in Nationals Park as a Phillie after signing a 13-year/$330M deal with Philadelphia in the first week of March.
It was a bomb of a homer:
And it was an impressive bat flip, not a Home Run Derby-winning bat flip, but a quality flip...
458 feet. A bat flip toward the Nats dugout. Wow. pic.twitter.com/6HTrZfIvER— Jamal Collier (@JamalCollier) April 3, 2019
Harper’s former manager Davey Martinez didn’t have much to say when asked about the flip after the Phillies’ 8-2 win in the series opener on Tuesday night.
And Ochocinco doesn’t understand why it’s such a big deal:
Why is Bryce Harpers bat flip such a big deal, is there an unwritten rule where you must release the bat a certain way❓— Chad Johnson (@ochocinco) April 3, 2019
A reporter wondered if Martinez had any thoughts on bat flips, you know, like generally...
Reporter: What’s your view on bat flips?
“I try not to watch,” the second-year skipper said, “... but it’s the way the game has evolved, really, everybody has got a couple [players] that do it, but I try not to watch, I really do.”
A flashy one tonight?
Right at your dugout?
Martinez, who bonded with Harper during their one year together in 2018, wasn’t biting.
Harper flippantly dismissed a question about the flip as well.
“It’s the emotion of the game, that’s it, that’s about it,” Harper said.
Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo was asked for his thoughts on the flip in an appearance on 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies on Wednesday, after Harper’s return to the nation’s capital.
Rizzo said there’s one way to avoid having to watch bat flips.
“Bat flips today,” he explained, “I would sound too much like a dinosaur if we talked about bat flips, cause everyone flips, everyone stares.
“Hey, you hit the ball that far,” Rizzo said, “you do whatever the hell you want, and the best way to stop those kind of bat flips is get them out, and the best way to get the buses from Philly to stop, like six and seven years ago when the Utleys and the Howards and the Hamels crew was here: Beat them.”
He was on a roll, but the “buses” talk was a reference to the fact that Philly fans traveled en masse and bought up a section in right field to cheer Harper, boisterously, which their new right fielder loved. But as Rizzo mentioned, they stopped that s — stuff before...
“We did for many, many years,” by which he means beat them, “at a 58% clip, 77-56 since 2012, that’s how you stop the buses from coming. So to stop the buses from coming this time, you start beating them again, and we feel good about our chances to win today, we feel good about our chances to win the division, and we feel good about the team that we have, and it’s a lot of emotion for Game 4.”
We’ve come so far. Baseball is fun again. Or something.