Title: Joey Bats Is Punishing Baseballs Again
Date: May 25, 2017
Original Source: Vice
Synopsis: For my latest at Vice, I wrote about Jose Bautista’s return to form at the plate over the past four weeks.
There didn’t seem to be a particularly good reason for the bat flip, other than that bat flips are great. Down 8-3 in the top of the eighth, Jose Bautista took Eric O’Flaherty deep and then launched his instrument, one of several moments of tension in what would have otherwise seemed a normal game. Bautista appeared almost apologetic by the time he reached the plate, and the oddly timed, seemingly random flip saw Bautista wear a pitch the next day.
It was not a flip born of euphoria, anger, or some grand sense of the moment. It was fun, but kind of weird. In retrospect, it stands as the canary in the coal mine for Bautista’s return to form, the flip itself now feeling like a proclamation that a recent hot streak following an awful start to the season was here to stay. It came after Bautista’s fourth home run in eight games, and he hasn’t stopped hitting since, with Wednesday’s tattooing of a Matt Garza offering standing as the latest reminder of just what a locked-in Bautista looks like.