05/15/14 by Mike Catania
A brawl a few weeks ago between the Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates and, more recently, a solo home run by Yasiel Puig has Major League Baseball buzzing about something that at first glance doesn't seem like that big of a deal.
The bat flip.
The Brewers' Carlos Gomez gained notoriety during a game with the Pirates when he hit what he thought was a home run but instead turned into a very long triple. Upon hitting the towering triple, Gomez flipped his bat, much to the dismay of Pirates' pitcher Garrett Cole.
Cole was quick to confront Gomez with undoubtedly a few choice words, which prompted a huge brawl.
The situation with Puig was a little different since no brawl ensued and his hit actually cleared the home run fence. But the pitcher that served up the home run for the San Francisco Giants didn't care much for Puig noticeably flipping his bat and posturing around the base paths.
Baseball purists and writers everywhere are completely turned off by Gomez and Puig disrespecting the sanctity of the sport. Baseball is pastoral, demure and nostalgic and always harkens to its rich history as reasons why players like Puig and Gomez get the proverbial eye roll when they act inappropriately.
Puig and Gomez might be two of the more unlikeable figures in Major League Baseball, so bashing them for their overt showmanship is easy and has a lot to do with their popularity being virtually nonexistent.
Gomez and Puig easily would be considered incredibly polarizing figures within baseball, but is the venom being pushed in their direction really about flipping a bat during a home run or the fact that neither are well liked? Puig also caught flack for slowly rounding the bases after his home run.
The idea that flipping a bat after hitting a home run is grounds for jawing back and forth between players or outright brawls seems a bit much, even considering the sanctity of baseball. Baseball isn't the most exciting sports, but it's rich tradition often takes over when anyone steps outside the box and acts in a way deemed too eccentric for the diamond.
Puig and Gomez aren't the first players to ever employ over the top, machinations after crushing a ball into the seats, and they certainly won't be the last, either. Carlton Fisk, in one of the more memorable home runs of all time, bounced up and down and tried and pointed for the ball he just hit to go fair.
What about Kirk Gibson and his pinch hit home run several years ago when he was pumping his fist back and forth? Does someone want to call Gibson out for showing up the pitcher?
Granted, that was pure emotion and adrenaline within the sport, and you could argue bat flipping is more of a "look at me" type maneuver. But, in the end, sports are equal parts competition and entertainment. What Puig and Gomez did might have been annoying and immature to some, but it hardly qualifies as catastrophic to baseball.
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