The unwritten rules of baseball often get in the way of the game itself and make truly joyous moments become hot take talking points. Jose Bautista's notorious 2015 bat flip is perhaps the best example of this, and while the celebration is generally becoming more accepted, there are still corners of baseball that bristle whenever someone "shows up" the other team. Which is stupid, it's a game and you just did a cool thing—celebrate it. You know, at least on the right occasion. (No bunts.)
You'd think that we wouldn't have to have this conversation right now, but there are hints of it reemerging after pinch hitter David Bote absolutely murdered a walk-off grand slam to give the Chicago Cubs a miraculous comeback last night. The Cubs were trailing 3-0 against the Washington Nationals, when Bote stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth inning. He even got down to his last strike, but then this happened:
I mean, good God. Those kind of heroics deserve a full out ticker tape parade around the base paths. But this morning, as Bote made an appearance on 670 The Score, he went out of his way to make clear it was not an intentional bat flip (if you can even call it a bat flip). The hosts simply asked if it was the best bat flip he's had of his career—and even said "yeah, I think you're allowed to do that"—but he kind of volunteered that it may have crossed the line:
Yes, the man is a rookie. He might be trying to protect himself from getting socked in the head and otherwise avoid retaliation from stupid veterans who take it upon themselves to police baseball's unwritten rules. But for real, people? He doesn't have to explain anything. It was glorious. This is the moment every single kid thinks about when they're in the backyard daydreaming of playing in the major leagues. Maybe they pretend it's in the World Series, but that's about the only way Bote's shot could have been crazier.
To put it in greater context, only six pinch hitters have hit an "ultimate grand slam"—which is apparently a real thing that means you hit a walk-off grand slam when trailing by three runs—since 1925. Moreover:
David Bote's walk-off grand slam has an actual name and a definition, and his specific version of it has not happened since the FDR administration. I'd say that's worth celebrating. If anything, work on giving your bat flip a bit more rotation, Bote. You earned it.