As MLB's season remains on hold due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many baseball-starved fans are tuning in to watch the Korean Baseball Organization at odd hours. The game might be the same, but the unwritten rules aren't.
While a simple glimmer of joy might be seen as disrespect by, say, former Giants ace Madison Bumgarner, hitters in the KBO flip their bats often -- even on ground balls -- and there are some spectacular celebrations. Giants manager Gabe Kapler seems to be all about it, too.
"I think emotion is great for the game of baseball," Kapler said Monday on KNBR's "Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks" show. "I think when we try to tone it down too much, it loses its appeal especially with a younger audience."
Kapler, who turns 45 years old in July, turned to his two sons as examples. Fans, especially younger ones, are sick and tired of watching an emotionless game.
"When I think about my son Chase, who's 20 years old, and his younger brother, Dane, who's 18, they don't want to sit through a baseball game without some celebration, without some emotion, without even some chest-beating and some strutting," Kapler said. "So, I'm good with it."
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That doesn't mean Kapler isn't still a baseball traditionalist in many ways, though. He played for six teams over his 12-year MLB career, and four of those were in the AL. Kapler, primarily an outfielder, started 18 games as a DH.
But he wants the DH to stay in the AL, not come to the NL.
"What I will say is I'm a baseball traditionalist in the sense that I like the strategy that comes along from having to pinch-hit for the pitcher," Kapler said. "When that high-leverage moment is in the game when everything is at stake early on, but your pitcher is running a low pitch count and you need him to eat up innings -- I think there is something really raw and traditional about that."
When baseball returns, Kapler might not have a choice. There have been rumblings that a universal DH could be implemented in MLB as soon as this season. If it were up to him, however, it's clear what his pick would be.
There always will be baseball traditionalists, just like there always be people who want more dingers in both leagues. In this case, Kapler chooses tradition.
When it comes to bat flips, though, the skipper says flip away.
Giants' Gabe Kapler enjoys bat flips, but against adopting DH in NL originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area