Bat-flipping slugger Park to ditch flips with Twins
Byung Ho Park is here.
The Korean slugger was on hand in Minneapolis for his introductory press conference Wednesday, just hours after inking a four-year, $12 million contract with the Minnesota Twins.
Park made a name for himself as a big-time power hitter with the Korean Baseball Organization’s Nexen Heroes, leading the league with 52 home runs and 146 RBI last season.
But while home runs tend to generate little more than a curt nod or a small fist pump in the US, Park and his countrymen in the KBO have mastered the art of the dreaded bat flip.
Yes, Park is a connoisseur of the bat flip, that small piece of baseball showmanship so polarizing in Major League Baseball that even feared long-ball hitter Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays earned just as much scorn as he did praise for his seismic toss back in October.
However, back in South Korea Park was a noted master of the flip, following up many of his towering shots with a casual throw.
And what a bat-flipper he is.
Known as "ppa-dun" in South Korea according to an exhaustive report from the New York Times, the flip is par for the course in KBO ball, where sluggers routinely give the bat a cool toss before trotting around the bases.
Try it in MLB and you’re likely to earn a lengthy dressing down from a certain segment of the U.S. beat-writing regiment, a fastball to the noggin from a disgruntled pitcher, or both.
But while Park’s bat-flipping acumen is revered in the KBO, the once demonstrative Korean home run king told the Star Tribune that he intends to leave his flips at home when he joins the Twins.
Park may be setting aside the bat-flipping of his KBO days when he suits up for the Twins, but at least we’ll always have these: