Cleveland Indians v Toronto Blue Jays

The fact that Jose Bautista is sometimes more demonstrative than some people are comfortable with when an umpire’s call doesn’t go his way is nothing remotely close to new.

He was ejected in a September 2010 game for arguing after being rung up by Ed Hickox, telling reporters– like Cody Derespina of Newsday– that he had no regrets. “I did everything I needed to do, I thought, to be successful there. So I can’t control anything else.”

He posted a .946 OPS the rest of that month, and had a staggering .443 wOBA and 182 wRC+ the following season.

In the middle of that stellar 2011 year, in the highest profile game of the Jays’ season– Roy Halladay’s return to Toronto– Bautista argued with an umpire following a call he disagreed with, according to a piece from the Canadian Press.

He posted a .944 OPS over the rest of the season.

On this very site, I wrote on May 12th of last year about the “frustrated antics towards umpires that we’ve seen so often this year,” suggesting that it would be preferable if his “whole cock of the walk, dickhead act lightens up a bit. Not just so it maybe softens the umpires’ stance on not giving him borderline calls, but because it sure as shit isn’t very likable– at least when he’s not producing.”

Following the previous night’s game– a 6-7 loss featuring a call Bautista disagreed with at the start of his ninth inning at-bat– he told reporters that Twins reliever Matt Capps “relies on location and he caught a break. Then he made a good pitch to me up in the zone. I probably should have taken it, but I expanded my zone a little bit because of what happened earlier and I swung at a bad pitch and popped up.”

He posted a .997 OPS from then until he injured his wrist at Yankee Stadium in mid-July.

So not only is Bautista’s supposedly-worrisome relationship with umpires not new– I wrote about it last month, even– it’s also a complete non-issue. There is simply nothing in his indisputably fucking awesome statistics to suggest that he’s ever paid any kind of price for his behaviour. It’s almost as though, as I wrote then, “umpires are maybe better equipped to understand the human nature of ultra-competitiveness than we tend to give them credit for.”

It’s also almost as though, exactly as Jose said, “umpires are always going to make mistakes. That’s the nature of the game, it’s part of the game.”

“If that’s my weakness as a player, then I guess I must be doing all right in other aspects,” he continued, prior to yesterday’s game, according to John Lott of the National Post. “I wish everybody else was more concerned about other things that I’m not doing right on the field, and not the way I react to umpires. I don’t see how I’m making this team a worse team because I react all the time. And I don’t know if I react all the time, but I react more than the normal person.”

“Just because one guy reacts more than the other, then every single time there’s a close pitch it’s a strike? Or are you going to go by the parameters defined by Major League Baseball, what’s a strike and what’s a ball? I’ll let you decide what’s right and what’s wrong on that one. It’s not my place to decide,” Bautista said, continuing to be bang fucking on.

Sure, he probably could have worded it better when he declared, “Sometimes I have trouble more than other players dealing with my production being affected by somebody else’s mediocrity,” but guess what? That’s kind of exactly it. He’s not piling up outs on a shit-tonne of phantom strikes deviously called by some butthurt blue. He feels that guys are missing calls, and he simply wants the right one to be made– for what his finely attuned eyes are telling him to agree with what the man behind the plate says– because he makes his living by being able to control the zone.

Umpires take a whole hell of a lot more shit on a day-to-day basis than whatever Jose does. Frankly, I’d say that the notion that they’re a bunch of unprofessional crybabies who couldn’t possibly get this ought to be much more offensive to them than Bautista’s too-overt disputing. Especially since even Bautista himself, according to Lott, “said he had no ‘statistical evidence’ that umpires are tougher on him because of his open disagreements.”

And he’s right! So… uh… why are we talking about it again?

Comments (86)

  1. You go Jose!

  2. I don’t know…why are we?

  3. Maybe that girl in the 500′s was trying to throw that dudes glasses down to the ump?

  4. Total non-issue. No one seems to care that Derek Jeter does the same thing.

  5. Moar!!! The fuckfaces who get upset at a guy showing the slightest hint of emotion need to shut the hell up. Whine about Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis being pricks, not the guy putting up tremendous numbers on your favorite team.

  6. Jose is awesome, but just because he posted a .950-1.000+ OPS after those specific events doesnt mean umps didnt call borderline stuff against him… maybe its 1 pitch that changes an at-bat.

    Point is, I don’t think anyone is going crazy about this.. it’s a problem, it’s a small problem but it’s still a problem, and it hasn’t been corrected in 2 years~ or however long he’s been donig it

    • I actually thought he got a pitch or two in his favour last night. The antics may make some umps resent him. But other than the odd spiteful call, it very well may help his future at-bats to be ornery about bad calls.

      • it would be nice if he learned how to work whatever magic Jeter has going for him, i cant imagine getting so excited about it and telling the umps they’re mediocre is the right way to go about it haha

    • It’s not a problem, though.

  7. Jose is the best.
    So sick of this media narrative.

  8. Bang on once again Andrew!

  9. I agree wholeheartedly.

    The end result of bad umping is it helps bad batters and hurts good batters. It reduces a very low success rate activity (batting in baseball) to being even more random.

    Umps should have little Android tablets with pitch f/x data in real time. They can call 2/3′s of the pitches without even looking at it, and look at it for the closer pitches before making their call.

  10. Yeah, if you check out his Pitch/FX stats he sure does receive a large proportion of his pitches outside the zone, so he is definitely put in a spot where he’s looking at a lot more pitches then average. That could be a source of frustration, especially as he is looking at a real different pitch portfolio then at the beginning of his career.

    In this young season he’s only swung at 42% of the pitches that were inside the zone, in 2012 it was 57%, so.. I dunno. Maybe he could stand to swing that bat more, but I am truly in no fucking position to say.

  11. You were right in your original assessment when you said it “sure as shit isn’t very likeable”. I don’t think it affects Jose’s production one way or the other. Nor do I care how he is perceived by the umps. But try to act like a GD 32 year old man out there. He’s so unnecessarily demonstrative in his tantrums that it makes him look like a wanker.

    I sure as hell don’t lose my shit on Rick at my office every time he makes a mistake, even when it affects my production (Rick is a bit of a dumbass).

  12. Hey you guys up there! Why are we talking about this again?

  13. if im remembering correctly didnt bautista go off on an Ump in Minnesota last year, and then either later in the same game or the next night he had a strike called against him on a pitch 2 feet off the plate? Who knows if that was a payback or not, i feel like ive heard enough stories from former players to think that umps are capable of doing such things

    • yes…baseball umpires do seem to have the thinnest skins, with the memory of elephants to boot, of any of the big 4 North American sports. The issue isn’t Jose specifically, it is whether or not his behaviour helps to give the team as a whole a ‘reputation’ with umpires. I’m more with Hayhurst on this issue than with Stoeten’s view of it as a ‘non-issue’. I recall that Joe West had quite the hate on (with shitty plate calling in tow) for the Jays, which I think stemmed from a confrontation with Ernie Whitt.

      Kelly Gruber was interviewed on Brady/Lang yesterday and said that the WS teams had to fight against especially bad umpiring to the point that he and the team were convinced that the Jays were being targeted in an effort to prevent them (a Canadian team) from getting to the WS.

      His more interesting statement was that the two (iirc) Canadian umpires in the AL at that time were the worst offenders as they did not want to be perceived as being biased towards a Canadian team.

  14. Years ago, and I don’t remember exactly when right now, all umpires openly had a thing against the Jays. That was before the league replaced most of them.

    It would be an absolute shame if history repeated itself because of Bautista calling the umpires’ efforts mediocrity outside of a game.

    He’s the face of the team and needs to act like it by setting the right example.

  15. You guys care way to much about this, he can do whatever he wants as long as he is producing, and he has 1 of our 3 RBIs (lol)

  16. The 3-2 pitch he K’ed on in the 1st game was a strike, according to fx. (We didn’t get to see it because Sportsnet.)

  17. I’m sure he’s been doing this forever, but these first 2 games I’m really noticing how demonstrative he is with the whole at-bat. He looks wound up tighter than a drum with all those faux-stretches between pitches and on his way to and from the plate. I’m pretty certain all that pent up energy is how he unleashes holy hell on the baseball though, so i’ll fucking take it!

  18. #butthurt – thought this was something only my gf and I used to describe how some people get so emotional haha

  19. MLB hates Toronto

  20. Don’t these stats cut both ways? Bautista states that he doesn’t want his production affected by others’ mediocrity. Well, clearly it hasn’t been.

    Further, if you want to bitch about mediocrity dragging you down, you might want to start making these displays of “emotion” toward a couple of the people batting after you.

  21. The people criticizing Bautista for being too emotional are the exact same ones who rain shit down upon Colby Rasmus for not hustling/showing outward emotion. You could write a thousand posts about it not being a big deal and the “Zaun-ites” of the world will still find a reason to bitch about it.

    • Don’t mean to target you specifically, you just happen to be the person who said it most recently. I hate these “same people” statements. How do people who make “the people who complain about X are the same people who complain about Y” know this to be true?

      And every time the statement is made, a bunch of people comment Amen. It drives me nuts. Sure, there are some people out there who hate everything/contradict themselves, but it’s not a lot – I like to think the vast majority of people are reasonably internally coherent – and they don’t all necessarily complain about both x and its opposite…

      • Well said. There is no reason to think one leads to the other. I get a bit tired of JBau’s theatrics, and am even more concerned that it’s already become part of the post-game Q’s from the beat reporters. How long before Jose snaps and declares war on Toronto media? It’s the beginning of the end. And it’s entirely avoidable if he just chills out a little bit.

        • Or… maybe the media could stop beating a dead horse and focus, you know, the actual sport?

          • I agree djs. But I don’t see any war against the media nor any need for Bautista to chill out. He just needs to put up an OPS over a thousand and no one will care about anything.

  22. I don’t see it as too big of an issue. That’s not to say he isn’t going to get rung up that one time in a meaningful game by an umpire he pissed off earlier in the game, or even earlier in the season.

    I’m sure Jose’s yapping has no measurable statistical impact, but it only has to happen one time in a big game for it to matter.

  23. i like it, i think it shows his drive and thats a big reason why he puts up those numbers, because he goes out and truly wants to hit the ball harder then anyone else every single time. and if people dont like it, maybe they dont know the drive and emotion behind some players in most sports. Some are calm, collected, some wear their emotions on their shirts. but you can sure as shit bet that if the umps where calling strikes just to be fucking ass faces, then that would get out and something would be done about it.

  24. The problem with showing his great OPS after getting into arguments with umps is the same as the problem with showing the homers he hits after getting plunked or knocked off his feet – any problem to which the solution is me sucker punching Jose Bautista in the face is not a real thing.

  25. I’m indifferent to Jose’s reaction to a call with which he disagrees.

    But his perspective on the whole issue makes me like him even more.

  26. Did something happen last night to trigger this post? Seems to be posting about a non-issue just to point out it’s a non-issue.

    I’ve been to both games and haven’t seen the highlights, I could be missing something.

    • It was more from the opener, and Jose made his statement to reporters before yesterday’s game.

  27. I don’t think it’s up on the FAN site yet but earlier today during Blair’s show, Hayhurst was pretty negative on Bautista. Not only does Dirk think Jose need to settle down, but doesn’t think he should’ve even commented when asked about it yesterday. Jack Morris was a little kinder.

    • I didn’t hear it but it’s kind of interesting seeing as Hayhurst was a fringe big leaguer and Morris was, like Bautista, a superstar. Fringe guys have to keep their heads down and it’s not surprising a former fringe big leaguer would think all players should do so.

  28. He has one of the best eyes at the plate in all of baseball. his arguments seem to be more founded than a lot of other players.

    • Anecdotally, I don’t think so. His approach seems to be to wait for a pitch in the wheel house and hammer it and take pitches that he can’t hammer. The pitches he’s been rung up on that he’s argued have been pretty close to the strike zone in situations where he could adopt a protective approach – but that’s not his thing.

      Reyes got clearly jobbed last night. He was protecting the strike zone and then got called out on a pitch a few inches off the plate.

      • Not saying he doesn’t have a great eye, just that he’s gotten into arguments in situations where protecting the strike zone may have been a better approach and therefore it’s not clear the arguing is well founded.

  29. I was an umpire for close to 6 years, and the only time a player’s antics get to me was when a player intentionally kicked dirt onto the plate to protest a strike call. We were half way through the count and I didn’t put up with his childish attitude, I tossed him from the game right then and there. The player was later suspended for a few games for being disrespectful. But when he came back, I didn’t hold it against him. I called the zone the exact same way I did every other time.

    If I was behind the plate and Jose did something that dramatic/emotional, I’d let it go the first time. Maybe even the second or third time. But eventually, especially after being pubically called ‘mediocre’, I’m willing to bet sometime later this season, an Ump is going to toss Jose for some of his ‘emotional’ outbursts. That’s how the umps I know work. They won’t change the zone, but if you get too lippy, you’ll be sent to the lockeroom for showing your ‘emotions’ too much.

    • I take it you were never employed by MLB as an umpire.

      While MLB umpires should probably be held to a higher level of accountability, I don’t believe MLB would stand for the kind of retribution you are suggesting.

      As it should be.

  30. Nothing wrong with passion. I remember about 10 years ago Sweet Lou losing his shit at Ben Grieve for not arguing a called third strike.

  31. I know it’s early, but does anyone else already miss 2011 Bautista? With the injury last year, it feels like it’s been so long…

  32. When people stop cheering for Jose Bautista when he hits 9th inning home runs to tie the ball game is when it becomes an issue.

  33. Some sanity on this issue from Stoeten. Glad to see it in the face of all these blithering idiots whining about something that doesn’t matter.

    Toronto fans just aren’t used to a star player that carries himself with the confidence/attitude he does and it rubs some of them the wrong way (but only when he’s going through slumps, of course). My advice to those people is to get over it because he’s not changing. Nor should he.

  34. Not an issue, whatsoever. Bautista is bang on with all of his comments. Why is it seen as such a bad thing that someone shows a bit of passion or fire in a sport? Reyes had a brutal punch-out called on him the other night and got fired up about it, are we all going to start complaining about that too? Rather than getting upset about Bautista’s reaction to poor calls, why aren’t we complaining along with him about the poor calls?

  35. 0-2 but could easily be 2-0. Love this team. Lind is looking pretty good. I think that DH works for him.

  36. Brady & Lang were all fired up this morning about Bautista’s comments. I had to change the station.

  37. He just needs to shut it up sometimes, do it in the locker room. Besides, the call he was sooo pissed about was a strike!

  38. We are still talking about it because someone is trying to sell a story. end of story.

  39. [...] And the other side, from  Andrew Stoeten, of Drunk Jays Fans: [...]

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