This wonderful home run celebration breaks all of baseball's unwritten rules

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Kenji Akashi of the SoftBank Hawks pulled off some impressive acrobatics after hitting a three-run walk-off home run on Thursday. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Kenji Akashi of the SoftBank Hawks pulled off some impressive acrobatics after hitting a three-run walk-off home run on Thursday. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

There are a lot of unwritten rules in baseball. There are rules about bat flips, celebrating home runs, and celebrating strikeouts. There are rules about conceding defeat too early, or not early enough. Not everyone knows all the rules, and they’re interpreted differently from person to person.

This wonderful, amazing, incredible home run celebration takes all those rules, crumples them up, and tosses them out the window of a speeding truck. Kenji Akashi, who plays for Japan’s Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, hit a three-run sayonara (known as a walk-off in the U.S.) home run on Thursday, ran the bases, and then literally backflipped onto home plate.

The best part about that video, besides the backflip, is Akashi’s teammates making sure he touched home plate when his landing wasn’t totally on target.

Interested in more angles of that sayonara home run backflip? Because there are plenty.

According to Kazuto Yamazaki, who covers Nippon Professional Baseball (Japan’s MLB equivalent) for Baseball Prospectus, Akashi has been waiting his entire 16-year career to do that particular home run celebration. And his former manager used to do backflips that look a lot like Akashi’s!

That extra-innings home run broke a 0-0 tie against the Orix Buffaloes, and it may not have even been possible without this bonkers defensive play a little earlier in the game.

Was this entire game played in the Matrix?

Right now, MLB’s equivalent to that backflip celebration are the elaborate post-homer high fives, or a very, very, very slow trot around the bases. MLB obviously needs to step up its game, but considering that pitchers will throw at hitters for any little thing these days, they should probably take it slow. Maybe start with a cartwheel or a graceful ballet jeté first, and then work up to a Simone Biles backflip.

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