Tim Anderson of the Chicago White Sox argues with the Kansas City Royals after getting hit by a pitch.

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Are Bat Flips Fun or Rude?

April 20, 2019 - 11:07 am

CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson's bat flip and glare into his dugout Wednesday afternoon revealed the divide between the old school and new school in baseball.

Anderson and Kansas City Royals starter Brad Keller were fined and suspended Friday by Major League Baseball for their role in Wednesday's benches-clearing incident at Guaranteed Rate Field. Anderson was issued a one-game suspension for his "conduct": ESPN reported he used a racial slur toward Keller, who was issued a five-game suspension for his actions.

It all began on Anderson's fourth-inning home run, which put the White Sox ahead. Anderson threw his bat baton-style toward his dugout and waved to his team in the joy of the moment.

Keller retaliated by hitting Anderson in the backside with his first pitch of the sixth inning. The opinions of both clubs were firmly at odds.

"There are a bunch of passionate guys out there every day," White Sox pitcher Ryan Burr said. "The fans are coming here to see a show. We are going to try and give it to them. It's exciting and of course, we don't want anyone to get hurt or thrown at intentionally, but it is good for the game. They are looking for a show so, in my opinion, it's good for the game."

Royals third baseman Hunter Dozier told reporters: "Once you get hit, just deal with it and go to first. That's my take on it."

Is baseball stuck in its old-world ways or has being respectful to the opponent taken on a different dynamic in this era of sports?

Anderson was showing energy and joy after his successful at-bat. Did that necessitate getting brushed back or hit by a pitch?

"We remember in football, Ickey Woods celebration during the end zone touchdown party and how that was looked at," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "In baseball, the bat flip has become more popular recently. There are now more awkward arguments because nobody wants to offend anyone by defending or not defending these celebrations."

Anderson has stated he will continue to show emotion and give his club reasons to get going. He is not alone in that regard.

"I think anytime you get a big hit, you pump up your team and you feel good about it," the Cubs' Kyle Schwarber said. "I am not one to show a lot of emotion. I am not going to start yelling and ranting after a 500-foot home run. I would say I would save my big emotion for the big moments. I am not telling anyone else how to show their own feelings."

MLB is concentrating on making their players more interesting and part of that is showing more personality. In a new commercials, the league featured a number of its brightest stars on a stage and included the Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout stating: "Let the kids play," a mantra MLB invited.

Is the Anderson way -- to emphasize fun and interactive joy -- the wave of the future in baseball?

"Whatever you want to play as a team and what is cool with your teammates, that is what is going to happen," Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward said. "However, if someone else reacts to it, that's on them."

Ultimately, how one reacts is decided by feelings either old or new.

By Bruce Levine