If you're not a fan of bat-flipping, don't tell that to David Ortiz.
The Boston Red Sox slugger has been known to flip his bat after hitting a home run throughout his 20-year career, and he is not a fan of the chatter that occurs when talking about showmanship at the plate.
“People want to talk about old school. I am old school,” Ortiz said, per Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. “How many [expletives] are in the game right now who played in 1997 in the big leagues?”
It's not just Ortiz who has expressed himself by flipping a bat after launching a baseball over the wall. Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays had an infamous bat flip in Game 5 of the American League Division Series against the Texas Rangers. It was a blast that gave Toronto the win in the series, as seen below:
Ortiz, who has hit 503 homers in his career, thinks the bulk of that chatter has come from pundits who have never played baseball, per Speier:
Whenever somebody criticizes a power hitter for what we do after we hit a home run, I consider that person someone who is not able to hit a homer ever in his life. Look at who criticizes the power hitters in the game and what we do. It’s either a pitcher or somebody that never played the game. Think about it. You don’t know that feeling. You don’t know what it takes to hit a homer off a guy who throws 95 mph. You don’t know anything about it. And if you don’t know anything about it, [shut up]. [Shut up]. Seriously. If you don’t know anything about it, [shut up], because that is another level.
Of course as a pitcher you’re not going to like it if I take you deep, but after I do it, suck it up, man. Take it like a man. I don’t mind anybody doing anything when you strike me out or get myself out. You’re never going to see me criticizing anybody, because you know what? Whatever you do out there, you just motivate me. You just motivate me. If I take you deep and I pimp the [expletive] out of it, that should be motivation for you to try to get me out in my next at-bat, instead of just talking [expletive]. That’s the way I see it.
The game of baseball is constantly changing, and not just in the rulebook. The old-school narrative Ortiz refers to is something Major League Baseball is trying to change. But younger and more athletic players are ushering in a new era of baseball, and once Ortiz retires, it's hard to imagine baseball toning down the showmanship and not allowing players to express themselves.