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Young Cubs laugh off, recreate bat flip ‘controversy’ in Toronto

As controversial as it might have been in some circles – especially in Texas – the extreme bat flip Wednesday by a potential World Series opponent had the Cubs laughing more than preaching about protocol.

Toronto slugger Jose Bautista hit the three-run homer that proved the game-winner in the Blue Jays’ division series clincher off Texas Rangers’ reliever Sam Dyson, then threw his bat as much as he flipped it, contributing to a bench-clearing incident.

By Thursday’s workout at Wrigley Field, first baseman Anthony Rizzo was laughing and entertaining teammates by recreating the flip while taking batting practice.

Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta, who got into his own faceoff with the Pirates in Pittsburgh last week, said as a pitcher he didn’t have any problem with Bautista’s flip, especially after hearing Bautista say, “It’s the most emotionally charged game that I’ve ever played.”

“You saw his comments,” Arrieta said. “Sometimes it’s OK to let that kind of stuff out. You might not like it on the other side, but he won a huge game for Toronto with that swing of the bat. Tempers run hot, but that’s part of baseball.”

Second baseman Starlin Castro, who has been known to occasionally flip a bat, called Bautista’s home run “unbelievable” and didn’t look at it as Bautista showing up Dyson (despite a lengthy staredown).

“It’s a really exciting moment,” Castro said. “When you hit the ball hard and far, the emotion makes you do something that sometimes you don’t even understand.”

Arrieta: “It doesn’t bother me at all. He’s had a tremendous year as well as their entire club has.

“And maybe we’ll see them in the World Series.”