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As the end of the decade approaches, we’re looking at five indelible moments from the world of Major League Baseball with a panel of guests talking about the events’ significance. Next up: Jose Bautista’s bat flip heard ‘round the world.
It was Oct. 15, 2015, and Jose Bautista had just made the Rogers Centre shake. The internet too.
Bautista pounded a pitch from Texas Rangers reliever Sam Dyson for a three-run homer that would be the decisive blow in Game 5 of the American League Division Series. He knew immediately it was gone and watched the ball fly out of the stadium with a look like, “Yes, I just did THAT.” Then he tossed his bat with an intensity that matched the moment.
We call it a bat flip, but it was so much more. It was more like a titan dismounting his weapon. It was a furious response to a back-and-forth game that he was demanding to end. And it may be the first glorious baseball moment of the meme era. It wasn’t just a thing that happened in a sports event, it immediately became a *thing* the way these happen routinely in 2019.
We didn’t know it at the time, but it was also bridging the gap between two eras of baseball. The bat flip era was here now, thunderously at that. In the years since, we’ve seen more players embrace the notion that you can react to big moments and we’ve seen MLB itself launch its own “Let the Kids Play” movement that seems to say, “forget the unwritten rules, have fun.”
We talked to a panel of baseball players, managers and analysts — including New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone, Marlins manager Don Mattingly, ex-MLB star Cliff Floyd, Kevin Ginkel of the D-backs and Matt Beaty of the Dodgers — about this moment and its importance to this decade in baseball.
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