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Author of “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports”
HOUSTON — Forget the bat flip. The newest innovation in baseball celebrations is the bat carry.
After hitting a first-inning, go-ahead home run in Game 6 of the World Series on Tuesday night, Houston Astros star Alex Bregman eschewed flipping his bat and instead carried it to first base, where he attempted — and failed — to hand it off to coach Don Kelly.
Not to be outdone, Washington star Juan Soto hit a mammoth homer to give the Nationals the lead four innings later and also brought his bat along for the trot, dropping it just shy of first base.
The dueling home runs were the early highlights of a back-and-forth Game 6, which the Nationals eventually won 7-2 to force a winner-takes-all Game 7 on Wednesday night.
Afterward, Bregman apologized for his actions.
“I just let my emotions get the best of me,” he said. “It’s not how I was raised to play the game. I just let my emotions get the best of me and … yeah, I’m sorry for doing that.”
Washington tagged Astros ace Justin Verlander for a run in the first inning. Houston followed with a pair of runs, including the solo Bregman shot, in the bottom half.
Alex Bregman says emotion got the best of him when he carried his bat to first base as he got too excited.
It was Bregman’s third home run of the series and gave him five career World Series home runs, the most ever by a third baseman.
The next three innings were scoreless until Verlander surrendered an Adam Eaton home run — he neither carried nor flipped his bat — and then allowed Soto’s 414-foot moonshot that almost hit the Minute Maid Park scoreboard in right-center field.
Asked what he thought of Bregman’s bat carrying, Soto laughed.
“It’s pretty cool. I want to do it, too,” Soto said. “That’s what I think when I saw that. I get the opportunity and do the same thing.”
Soto, who turned 21 this week, also had hit a pair of home runs coming into the sixth game: one in Game 1 and another in Game 5, both off Astros co-ace Gerrit Cole.
Soto now has five home runs this postseason, which broke a tie with Miguel Cabrera (2003) for the most in postseason history by a player age 21 or younger.