“Bat flips in Korea are commonly referred to as ppa-dun, a portmanteau word that combines the first syllables of the words for bat and throw, though the English term is used as well,” writes the New York Times’ Andrew Keh in attempting to explain why a post-HR celebration that would send the likes of Larry Bowa into a homicidal rage is no big deal in South Korea. Crucial to Keh’s research is the work of MyKBO.net founder Dan Kurtz of Lancaster, PA a Korean Baseball Organization fan prone to uploading “videos of nice plays, bloopers and absurd ceremonial first pitches.”
Kurtz first injected Korean bat flips into the American sports consciousness on May 15, 2013, when he alerted a few websites about a video that showed Jeon Jun-woo, an outfielder for Lotte, aggressively tossing his bat and celebrating a blast that ended up being caught on the warning track. It was Korean bat flipping’s first viral moment.
These days, Kurtz posts bat flips to his Twitter account when he deems one “bat-flippy enough” — that is, it has the speed, trajectory and accompanying pose to please American tastes — and they are disseminated to the masses from there. He said that the number of fans expressing dismay at the bat flips seemed to have decreased since 2013, possibly signifying a relaxing of American baseball mores.
“I used get a lot more comments like ‘That guy needs a 95-mile-an-hour fastball to the head,’ ” said Kurtz, who now lives in Seoul, where his wife is a military physician.
“Well, you still have those,” he added, laughing. “They’re called St. Louis Cardinals fans.”