November 06, 2015

#Baseball and #batflip issues intersect with #philosophy and #culture

In a post a week or two ago, I blogged here about the intersection of bat flipping in baseball and issues in culture.

I've now extended some of those ideas, and generated new ones, at my latest post as contributor to the new philosophy-and-culture webzine, The Electric Agora.

My original post started from a Facebook acquaintance surprising me by saying he dislikes bat flips because they're not "old school." He was specifically talking about Jose Bautista in this year's one AL Division Series.

Per the art at my piece at the Agora, Yasiel Puig is, of course, another well-known bat-flipper. So is Carlos Gomez. See a commonality?

I responded that "old school" here often equals "white school." He, possibly in part from knowing I'm a Cardinals' fan of long standing, said "what would Bob Gibson do"?

I, in turn, first responded that today, Pirate star Andrew McCutchen has specifically said, more than once, that such old school ideas are, in his mind, part of lower African-American involvement in baseball than decades past.

I then said that Bautista was a "piker" on bat flips compared to Korean players.

And, he responded:

Us Bernie (S)anders liberals want some place in popular culture where we don't have to cringe. If people want to call it racist, they can go find who they are more at ease with. My dad fought for Korea at great personal expense. But he did not fight for bat flipping.
Well, no disrespect to your dad, but that sounds like a pretty paternalistic response.

Beyond that, and to add to the "fun" of that comment, as Deadspin recently reported, one of Korea's top bat-flippers, Hwang Jae-gyun, may come to the US.

If you don't like Joey Bats, and think he's "disrespecting the game," you definitely won't like this guy. If he, or one or two of his Korean fellows like Cho Hong-Seok come to the US, if they temper the bat flips, I hope they don't totally eighty-six them, as the NYT said they might.

That's the starting point for my piece at The Electric Agora — how much is baseball in particular, or any sport in general, limited or constrained by the sport that created it?

Basketball, I note, is more internationalist. Many European players, in fact, buy into African-American hip-hop culture even before coming to the U.S. Meanwhile, Eurostars like Manu Ginobili bring things like the Eurostep to our shores, with the likes of James Harden eagerly adopting them.

From there, I delve into classical music and more.

And now, Bautista has weighed in himself about his bat flip.

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