December 23, 2016

ROCK OPERA:

The Art of Letting Go : 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, ESPN the Magazine)

As Major League Baseball struggles to overcome its staid image and lure younger fans -- according to Nielsen, most of the sport's TV viewers are over 50 -- the simple bat flip has come to symbolize the culture war being waged within its ranks. It's a conflict between those who believe the game should embrace the traditions of other countries and flashier elements of other sports, and those who, as Bautista wrote in The Players' Tribune, are "old-school, my-way-or-the-highway type of people who never want the game to evolve."

Meanwhile, in the Korea Baseball Organization, bat flips aren't just permitted -- they're embraced. "A bat flip isn't disrespectful here in Korea, which is a very formal, respectful country," says Dan Kurtz, a Korean-American who started mykbo.net in 2002 as a message board for English-speaking fans. "A guy flips and the pitchers don't do anything about it. It's just part of the game." Kurtz explains that bat flips, which are called ppa dun in Korea -- a term that combines the words for "bat" and "throw" -- are ubiquitous in the KBO. But he isn't sure how that happened. "People ask me, 'Why can't we do this in Major League Baseball?'" he says. "I want to know: Where in Korea did it originate and why?"




Posted by at December 23, 2016 4:58 AM

  

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