Is Willy Adames' toss the greatest bat flip in baseball history?
How does one grade a bat flip? It's like asking how does one measure a sunset, or how does one weigh a country, or how could someone ever taste a rainbow?
Every now and then, though, a bat flip happens that is so amazing, so perfect, so deliriously wonderful that we are forced to answer such a question. The Rays' Willy Adames offered such a flip on Wednesday night that we may now be able to officially say was the greatest of all-time.
In the bottom of the 11th inning, Adames laced a single up the middle to give the Rays the 4-3 walk-off win over the Blue Jays. Now, most bat flips are used on home runs. But obviously, because it's the flip we're interested in, the fact that this ball didn't soar over the wall has no bearing on the quality of the flip itself.
Just look at this, where Adames carries his lumber down the first-base line and then hurls it into the air like he just graduated college and he threw his weird, square hat tassel thing into the air.
Willy #Walkoff! pic.twitter.com/EP3FP5Z8uG— MLB (@MLB) May 30, 2019
Its total hang time is nearly three seconds. At this point, is it even a flip any longer or does it have more in common with manned space flight?
But is Adames' flip the best? That's a tough question. Obviously, since the Rays were playing the Blue Jays, we must discuss Jose Bautista's bat flip from the 2015 ALDS against the Rangers. After a tense and hard-fought game, and with emotions high, the man known as Joey Bats launched the ball into the Rogers Centre seats and basically brought the house down with his toss.
Tom Lawless' 1987 World Series bat flip bears a striking similarity to Adames' effort from last night as he carried the bat down to first base before hurling it over his shoulder.
But both of those flips came in the postseason. And while that helped raise the stakes and sear these images into the collective unconscious, can a bat flip not be beautiful simply on its own? Does it require the added emotional heft of October baseball to be one of the best?
Perhaps Bryce Harper's earlier this year, when he unloaded a revenge game home run against the Nationals and tossed his bat into the air deserves to be included.
FLIP. FLIP. FLIPADELPHIA. pic.twitter.com/6fNdWIA4vF— Cut4 (@Cut4) April 3, 2019
But even that home run was deeply imbued with a little something extra as eyes were upon Harper's first return to the only city he had called home as a professional.
It would also be rude of us not to include Asdrubal Cabrera's two-handed hurl into the night after hitting a walk-off homer against the Phillies. But this one was also a home run.
It’s good, but it doesn't have the outrageous factor that Adames displayed with his random Wednesday in May flip. So, it seems pretty apparent to me that Adames' flip is the greatest non-home run flip of all-time. But is it the greatest of all-time, postseason included? That's where you, dear reader, come in.