Why Bat Flipping is “Bush”
A month ago I wrote a post about the phenomenon that is bat flipping in South Korean baseball. At the time I wrote that my gut feeling was that bat flipping is bush. It occurred to me today why exactly I feel that way.
One of the things the serious baseball fan looks forward to in paying to see professional baseball is watching batters hit really well fast and craftily thrown baseballs, not to watch the batter flip his bat after he thinks he’s hit a ball really well. If you are watching the bat flip rather than the flight of the ball, at least in real time seeing the play live, you are missing the event of real consequence.
Bat flipping is a lot like mascots. Bat flipping and mascots are for the casual fan who really doesn’t find enough excitement in the actions of a baseball game played by the most skilled and gifted athletes. That said, professional baseball is first, second and last a form of entertainment designed to draw in as paying customers both the casual fan as well as the more serious fans. Bill Veeck, who as owner of the Indians, Browns and White Sox, understood this better than anyone — put a good baseball product on the field and also give the fans fireworks displays, circus acts and clowns before, after and between innings of the game. In short, give the baby (casual fan) its bottle.
However, I am not a fan of mascots under any circumstances. Few things make me angrier at a baseball game for which I have paid any significant sum to witness than some jackass prancing around in a padded cloth suit blocking my view of the action on the field.
In sum, bat flipping is a relatively harmless (or in MLB not so harmless) distraction that I could do without.