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Science breaks down Jose Bautista’s now famous bat flip

ESPN Sport Science

It’s already been referred to as baseball’s “flipping point”, and a fan has already got a tattoo of the moment that will surely go down in Toronto sports history as the flip heard around the world.

It is, of course, Jose Bautista’s seventh inning home run and bat flip, which earned the Toronto Blue Jays a victory in the decisive fifth game of the American League Division Series playoff against the Texas Rangers on Wednesday.

Bautista’s epic three-run home-run ball travelled 442 feet, sending fans at the Rogers Centre into a frenzy that is still playing out throughout the city.

The ESPN Sport Science crew has put together a video detailing all of the science fact surrounding the physical event that’s been played and replayed thousands of times over the past day.

The amount of time spent between contact and Bautista’s bat flip was .83 seconds, during which time he admired his handiwork and thought about what to do next, approximately four times longer than the flap of an actual blue jay’s wing.

He then tosses the bat in the air, his arm engaged in an arc similar to a tennis forehand, moving upward at an angle of 540 degrees per second, flinging the bat skyward at a speed of 25 miles per hour.

ESPN estimates that based on the 60 degree launch angle, 1.0 drag coefficient, the 270-foot elevation of the Rogers centre, and the atmospheric disturbance created by the crowd, the bat eventually hit the ground with an estimated 30 pounds of force, approximately twice as much force as the Texas Rangers’ Sam Dyson applied to his mysterious butt pat on Blue Jays short-stop Troy Tulowitzki, which created its own seismic event in the form of an angry bench clearing near the end of an already emotionally charged game.

Bautista’s bat was in the air for 1.6 seconds, reaching a height of 12 feet 3 inches, more than 15% of the 80-foot apex of the home run itself.

Speaking as an out-of-towner who happened to be in downtown Toronto on Wednesday night, I can testify that Bautista’s home run and subsequent bat flip felt as if a direct portal to Hell had been opened in the city’s centre. Men, women and children transformed into howling animals, the sky burned with joy, and life as Toronto knows it came to a standstill for a few hours as people celebrated possibly the greatest sports moment in the history of their city.


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