David Ortiz hit a three-run homer against the Devil Rays last night and flipped his bat a little too dismissively for victimized pitcher Chris Archer’s liking. “I don’t know what makes him think that he can showboat the way he does and then nobody retaliate,” Archer said after the game. (Big Papi, as Ortiz is known, has heard this before.) After Ortiz flipped his bat–it’s a form of gloating–he took his sweet time trotting around the bases too, adding insult to home-runnery. The Ortiz attitude upped the heat in St. Pete.
It’s worth considering that baseball players don’t have the outlet for braggadocio that other athletes have. In our age of end zone dances and half-court chest bumps after alley-oop slams, baseball players can feel a little left out. But dunks and even Hail Mary touchdowns still pale in comparison with the king of all sports acts–and the number one sports metaphor by far–the home run. David Ortiz is just doing what comes naturally. Ortiz fans think he’s earned it. Others would rather he hurry it up.