- Programming note: Watch the full "All A's" interview with Chris Bassitt on Tuesday, June 8 after "A's Postgame Live" at approximately 10 p.m. on NBC Sports California.
Trash talk is a part of the game, and Athletics starter Chris Bassitt could be one of the best at it in all of baseball. He also doesn't mind hitters celebrating against him with a bat flip, even at his own expense.
To a certain extent, of course.
“I talk a lot of trash about the opposing team, but not to the opposing team if that makes sense,” Bassitt told NBC Sports California on "All A's."
“It always bites me in the butt.”
Bassitt sometimes has to be told by fellow teammates to keep it down.
“[Matt Olson] and [Matt Chapman] are always on me like, ‘You need to shut your mouth about certain players because every time you talk crap about certain players they always seem to hit a home run or get a big hit.’”
“Yeah -- I’ll bring it at people no doubt,” Bassitt added.
A’s fans themselves have seen the opposing end of it. When the Houston Astros started the season off in Oakland, the loud booing coming from the crowd only seemed to make Jose Altuve better.
In this case, it wasn't that Bassitt said anything to Altuve, necessarily, but you could see how some added motivation ended up working out.
The 32-year-old didn’t say he was the “best” trash talker on the team, but certainly admitted he was the most consistent. That’s how he is both on and off the mound. As far as his own teammates, however. He doesn’t let up.
“Oh -- every day,” Bassitt explained. “If I see someone messing up or losing, or whatever it may be, I’m going to let you know it.”
As far as if that chatter goes toward an opposing hitter should he celebrate a homer with a bat flip, there are two scenarios Bassitt detailed. More often than not, he lets the guy have his moment.
“Yeah, I don’t have a problem with it,” Bassitt said. “As long as the moment's kind of big. Obviously this game, momentum’s huge so if you have a home run off me or a big hit off me and you are just genuinely excited, I don’t care. I’m perfectly fine with it.”
But in the second scenario -- one when the game is out of reach -- Bassitt won’t necessarily be as nonchalant.
“You want to like bat flip -- Lord willing they’re not up seven, eight, nine runs -- and you try to bat flip me on there, I’m going to have a problem with that,” he said. “That’s just kind of being disrespectful. Or you do the exact opposite. If we’re winning by seven, eight runs and you bat flip me -- kind of thing, you’re a clown. I don’t know what you’re trying to do.”
Bassitt remembers sitting in his living room watching Jose Bautista bat flip in Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS thinking to himself that it was one of the coolest things he’s ever seen. Given the moment, that gets a pass, of course.
“I think bat flip and energy and excitement is great for the game, but it just has to be genuine,” he said. “It can’t be this act of ‘look at me.’”
Bassitt has never actually seen someone bat flip off of him, however. He tends to turn his head to follow the flight of the ball should it make its way over the fence.
Don’t worry, though, one of his teammates surely will let him know if the batter celebrated accordingly.