MLB’s code is clear: Flip your bat and you’ll pay. But in South Korea, flips are an art. How does this alternate world exist? And what does it say about us? Writer Mina Kimes trekked across South Korea with illustrator Mickey Duzyj to unravel the mystery.
There are unwritten rules in Major League Baseball, or in geographic terms, there are are cultural norms that are informally enforced to maintain homogeneity and to prevent cultural drift. Jose Bautista’s repuation as a villain has much to do with his rejection of a key MLB unwritten rule–Never ‘show up’ the pitcher by flipping the bat. In South Korea, typically a country much more associated with cultural traditions of honor and respect than the United States, bat flipping is much more accepted and common (diffusion plays a role in the story–baseball came to South Korea via Japan). This is an interesting story about South Korean baseball’s cultural norms that might intrigue some sports fans.