A must-read on the culture war concerning bat flips

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP
40 Comments

By now, you are probably familiar with baseball’s culture war, in which people — primarily older, former players and current pitchers — are trying to limit the way batters express themselves after hitting a home run. Jose Bautista‘s iconic bat flip in Game 5 of the ALDS against the Rangers has spurred discussion throughout the winter into the spring. Derek Holland (link), Goose Gossage (link), and Mike Schmidt (link) were among those offering criticism of Bautista.

Earlier this month, in an ESPN feature, Nationals outfielder and defending NL MVP Bryce Harper said, “Baseball is tired … it’s a tired sport, because you can’t express yourself.” That earned him some criticism from Giants reliever Sergio Romo.

The debate isn’t ending anytime soon, it seems like. But Philadelphia Daily News columnist David Murphy offered his take and he did so in a very eloquent way. His column is a must-read, no matter which side you’re on. A snippet:

You can have your brand of baseball. Give me the fools. Give me Jose Bautista throwing his bat. Give me Jose Fernandez staring into the dugout. Give me Fernando Rodney shooting arrows into the sky. You can have your small ball, your drag bunts, your induced double plays. Give me the home run, the DH, a swing through strike three.

You can have your 1950’s nights, your Levitt houses, your radios crackling from the back of the garage with Marlboro Red baritones in the summertime dusk.

We don’t see much poetic baseball writing these days but I’ll be danged if that isn’t it.