Monday, March 18, 2024

Bat Flip Ejections - How Not to Be Ejected for Flipping?

After umpires ejected UConn's Matt Malcolm and Penn State's Kyle Hannon, both for bat flips after hitting a home run, you asked us how a college player can avoid ejection for celebrating a big hit, and why bat flips have seemingly been deemed illegal by NCAA Baseball. Perhaps of equal importance is to consider why college baseball adopted the bat flip ejection rule in the first place.

Prior to the 2023 season, NCAA adopted rule 5-17: Unsportsmanlike Conduct, which states
Game personnel shall not use language that will, in any manner, refer to or reflect negatively upon opposing players, coaches, umpires or spectators. Any orchestrated activities by any player or dugout personnel designed to distract, intimidate or disconcert the opposing team or reflect poor sportsmanship shall not be allowed. This includes activities such as:
> Negative comments directed at an opponent, umpire or spectator.
> Bench jockeying.
> Bat flips near or toward an opponent or umpire.
> Use of props or signs directed at an opponent or umpiring decision.
The instruction to umpires appears to be one of strict scrutiny: interpret most bat flips as qualifying under this new sportsmanship rule 5-17. After all, an opponent (including the opposing dugout) or umpire is bound to be near a bat flipping player.

During a college baseball playoff game in 2016, a Miami player flipped his bat after a grand slam, resulting in a benches-clearing incident when defensive team Boston College responded with objection. Eight years later, the NCAA rules committee stepped in to address the bat flip issue, effectively finding that its member schools had been unable to address the problem on their own, requiring a sportsmanship intervention.

*An earlier version of this article's title contained the phrase, "How to not be ejected for flipping?" The author sincerely apologizes for exposing the reader to this reckless split infinitive. This careless error has been corrected.

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Runner Gomes steps in front of fielding Adames, but ump no-calls the play


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