Former Blue Jays OF Vernon Wells weighs in on bat flip
The former Blue Jays star (mostly) sees Jose Bautista‘s bat flip for what it is: An expression of baseball’s cultural diversity
Vernon Wells gave the Blue Jays nearly 1400 games and 6000 plate appearances over his 12-year career in Toronto. For some time, he was the face of the franchise. Positionally, at least.
In a short piece this morning for The Score, Wells gave his own opinion on the man who took the franchise torch, and the bat flip story that refuses to die.
Wells admits that he played by the “old school” rules during his career, believing that a player flipping their bat or skipping down the first base line would get their teammate plunked in the next at-bat.
“I didn’t think that type of celebration was necessary when I played,” Wells writes, “but as long as the person in front of me wasn’t showing up somebody, and then I was going to be the one getting hit because of it, I was fine with it. There were a couple times when Jose was in front of me, and he’d hit a home run and stand there and look at it, and I’d be like “Man, if I get hit because of you, I’m hitting you.” That’s just how it is.”
Related Story: Encarnacion reportedly not in Blue Jays plans
Wells adds that there are still many people “sensitive” to that type of emotion on the diamond. “Unfortunately, you’re not going to know who it is until it happens.”
The retired outfielder does stay in the middle of the argument, referencing the “unwritten rules” side of the game, but thankfully sees the cultural side of this debate.
“I think another big factor in how players portray themselves on the diamond comes from their cultural upbringing,” he says. “I’ve never played in Venezuela or the Dominican, but players tell me all the time that it’s a flat-out party at their games. The bat flips and other theatrics are just part of the stadium-wide celebration.”