Tampa Bay Rays v Toronto Blue Jays

Yesterday, after hitting a mostly meaningless, yet still somewhat unnerving, ninth inning home run to pull the Rays to within two runs of the Jays, Yunel Escobar made the same “safe” gesture at home plate as he did when he hit a game-tying blast in the seventh inning of a game during the Jays’ last series in Tampa.

Apparently this was a thing?

At least for some people it was. Gregg Zaun and his acolytes, for example:

A quick Twitter search for “Escobar” and “classless” finds several more tweets (as does any search of Escobar’s name), while Curtis Rush of the Toronto Star used Storify to pick out a few other instances of fans getting upset about it.

Lending supposed credence to the ire the gesture has drawn from Jays fans is the fact that, after the game, Rays manager Joe Maddon told reporters, like Mark Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, that he was going to “to talk to him about the reaction after the home run. And I’m certain you’re not going to see that again.”

I suspect, however, that, as Richard Griffin said in his chat with readers at the Toronto Star today, “the Safe Sign was out of line mostly because they were down 7-5 in the ninth and not a time for excessive celebration. That’s what Maddon is mostly upset about.”

That, to me, makes sense– as does Escobar possibly being frustrated with his treatment by the Toronto fans, as seemingly demonstrated in a piece at gamereax, though clearly he should know damn well why they were getting on his case– especially seeing as, like I mentioned in the opening of this post, it’s not the first time Escobar has used the exact same celebration.

Matt Snyder posted the video of the May 9th home run this morning at CBS Sports:

So… was that one also offensive and classless? Do we not like any kind of celebratory outburst on the field, or is it only when it comes from a guy who we eventually remembered we’re not supposed to like? Were people as offended by the gesture in Tampa? And keeping in mind the standard being applied to Escobar, what do we think of a thing like this? Or this? Or this?

I’m asking honestly, because I don’t have a problem with any of it. And just because Escobar– whether it’s for what he wrote on his eye black, how he completely tone deaf he appeared when offering what was purported to be an apology, or his thoroughly sub-par play in his last season in Toronto– is a somewhat loathsome character, it doesn’t mean this “incident” amounts to anything more than, as Griff calls it, a tempest in a teapot.

And Josh Lueke pitched yesterday, for fuck sakes! Couldn’t fans have maybe spared some of the fucking indignation for that??? Yeah, I’m sure that at this point there’s plenty to go around, but still…

Comments (79)

  1. Watching the game on TV yesterday and I noticed Joe Maddon pulling a tea bag from his Gatorade cup. The dude drinks tea during games!

  2. wonder if he gets plunked tonight…

  3. Most people don’t know who Josh Lueke is. I know that speaks to a greater problem, but fans aren’t going to go nuts on a guy they never heard of.

    I didn’t notice the Escobar thing when it happened. I think it’s kind of funny actually.

  4. Soo..you’re saying the Jays should trade for him or did I misread this post

  5. he is a dick……this isn’t news, we all expect this from him.

  6. It’s ok, his hairdresser uses safe signs.

  7. Well considering that its becoming custom to boo past players for no particular reason, it sounds like Escobar got what was coming to him.

  8. Just finished reading Calico Joe by John Grisham and the call for a beanball to the head is pretty terrible. Maybe Zaun should read it.

  9. I doubt many give a shit about it. As usual, it is something for the hacks to write about — and then they sneer at the fans who make something out of what they wrote.

  10. the whole notion that celebrating after a HR or a hit or whatever is ‘showing up’ the other team/pitcher is fuckin ridiculous. These same people are the ones who are trying to keep replay out of baseball or think that pitchers should hit.

    Unless a player actually taunts the fans or the other team, then let them do what they want. If you don’t like it, next time don’t let them hit a fuckin home run.

    Every single sport there is some sort of celebration, baseball needs to get off their high horse and let people express themselves (within reason).

    There’s nothing wrong with what he did other than the fact that his team was losing. When someone hits a walk off, players chase eachother around like a bunch of idiots and punch eachother. How does that not show up the opposing team and pitcher?

  11. Thank you for pointing out the double standard.

  12. Who gives a shit??

    Why is it ok for fans to heckle the piss out of an athlete but as soon as said athlete shows them up people get offended by it?

    Why can’t we just accept it and move on?

  13. It’s a more emphatic version of this:

    http://tampabay.rays.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=26493331&c_id=mlb

    Whole lotta meh from my perspective.

  14. I noticed on TV and commented on the Game Threat.
    The Sportsnet camera followed him into the dugout expecting him to do more.
    Which he slammed down his helmet and yelled for a bit.
    Then he noticed the camera trained at him and he stared back at the camera defiantly.

    It didn’t bother me, because it’s what Yunel does.
    Probably should follow him around with a camera and call the show “That’s So Yunel”.

  15. I have no big problem with him. I read a good article about how he came to the States from Cuba and I really just see a kid who has missed 2 decades worth of social enlightenment that we have all had. And had to basically write off his former life – something few of us have had to do.

    The eye black is a perfect example. To hear other Spanish people, the word correlates just as much to “sissy” as it does to “faggot”. The fact that he put it on his eye like that tells you how little he understands of all this. I fail to believe he knowingly chose to commit PR suicide.

    20 years ago we were all laughing along with Eddie Murphy as he spewed homophobic joke after homophobic joke. Now we’re all high and mighty about it.

    As for this, I’m more offended at people making signs to god after a home run – if there is a god I find it offensive to think he cares about baseball at all, let alone your performance vs some other guy’s.

  16. Why would anybody care what Yunel Escobar does?
    Pretty much a non story.

    Fangraphs has an article today about Sean Nolin.
    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/sean-nolin-next-blue-jays-savior/

  17. So… gesturing in celebration of a home run is not ok.

    But potentially killing another human by throwing a hard object 90mph at his head is ok.

    Fuck you Zaun. I’m going to harass you next time I see you trotting around Yorkville.

  18. I didn’t have a problem with it – clearly Yunel was fired up & wanted to stick it to the boo-birds. My reaction was “Ok, that’s cool Yunel – your team is still down 2 runs BTW…”.

    I was probably more annoyed that it appeared he had stuff to say to Jays players as he went around the bases. But again…it doesn’t actually matter.

    Whatever. He’s an idiot and thankfully he’s gone.

  19. After he was booed on his way to the plate I was half hoping he went yard. Don’t get me wrong, I love this team but I’m getting pretty damn sick of Jays fans. I guess my only complaint about Yunel’s little safe sign there is that now ignorant fans are going to feel justified in booing him and every other ex Jay who comes through town. Maybe let’s try and hit him with a paper airplane from the 500′s too.

    • Randomly booing every ex-Jay who comes to town is dumb.

      Booing that sack of shit is another. I’ll be booing with the 30,000 tonight.

    • And you’re probably also discounting the eye black. There’s a big difference between tolerance and acceptance.

  20. Yunel was and always will be a sulking/brooding little child.
    His mannerisms on the field, the way he shows up his own players with glares.
    The pouty shit on the bench when he k’s.

    There’s a reason why he’s been run out of the only two organizations he’s played with.
    He’s selfish and doesn’t seem to understand team play.

    There’s probably a reason why one of the most famous “Player Managers” Bobby Cox who always seemed to get the most out of guys found Yunel to be un-coachable.

    His celebration didn’t piss me off that much, I actually felt sad for him because 2 organizations later he still doesn’t get it. I’m sure he’ll do something much worse before the year is out and Maddon will have had enough.

    • You’re thinking of a “Player’s Manager” as opposed to a “Player Manager” They were pretty different.

  21. I think it’s more of an issue because Maddon said it “wouldn’t happen again” indicating that there probably WAS a lot malice there?

    • There’s nothing wrong with celebrating a big hit/play but there has to be context and timing.
      Most of the saberfolk won’t like this response because it’s nothing that can be figured through equations or a formula.

      Yunel’s celly was clearly a fuck you to Toronto. This is evidenced by the fact that his run meant nothing, his homer didn’t tie the game, his run clearly meant nothing. It’s the same reason why a defending team doesn’t try to throw out a runner who takes second base in the 9th when they’re down 4 runs. Defensive indifference – run means nothing.

      The links Stoeten provided of Lawries cellys aren’t comparable because on those plays the hits were big, probably game tying, or takes a lead. Those are perfectly acceptable times to celebrate.

      Yunels run didn’t mean shit, he knew it, his coach knew it, Jays knew it, yet he celebrated like he just won the Series. Purely meant to piss off TO and the Jays.

      • You need a formula to say something meaningful!

      • Yep, agreed. I think people had a problem with the obviously orchestrated nature of the “celebration” taunt from Escobar. I don’t think anyone thinks Lawrie is taunting the other side; he’s just being exuberant.

        However, I know that even Larie’s exuberance has pissed off opposing players in the past. I think I remember a pitcher from Oakland not being too happy when Lawrie jumped around on the basepaths after he hit a grand slam in his first home game.

        That’s all just to say that there isn’t really a widely agreed upon standard for which celebratory actions are acceptable and which ones will get you beaned the next time around. You see the same thing in the other “unwritten” rules.

        I think I would be surprised if the Jays were particularly choked about Escobar’s action, since it was obviously directed at the fans rather than at the team or any individual on it. You could sort of read that in Janssen’s comments.

  22. I got frustrated for a second, then remembered that we have Jose Reyes instead…

  23. Who cares I guess, this just gives him the attention he seeks. Give it a year or two and Mr. Escobar will never be heard from again, in my opinion.

  24. There are people upset about this? Really?

    Not something that should bother any right minded person.

  25. maybe we should give old jays standing ovations, as Escobar Wells Rios are killing us at the plate. lets make them feel like they did when they played here and hopefully the same results.

  26. I’ve got pretty long hair about this

  27. In lighter news our High A prospects continue to rake:

    Yesterday Dwight Smith went 2-5 and is hitting .301
    And Christian Lopes our future second basemen went 4 for 5 with a triple, Homerun, 2 runs scored and was picked “Prospect of The Day” in all of Minor league Baseball.
    He’s hitting .327 on the year.

  28. Meh, I don’t have a problem with what Escobar did yesterday. The fans were riding him all game, so what was he supposed to do? If anything, the fans should just laugh at this and move on.

  29. He’s a snatch. Put one in his ribcage. What’s the matter with you pussies. That’s what happens in baseball.

  30. Agree with Stoeten and others this is not a story. Not sure why anyone would care.

    Agree with previous poster…enough of the boos for past Jays players. It obviously isn’t working….it is almost like it is firing them up or something.

  31. Ive definitely seen the absurd “Lo Viste” sign flashed after a HR or nice hit late in a game we were getting destroyed.

    How is that different?

  32. In other suprising news, Aaron Sanchez has gone on the DL.

  33. When is it fair to start ragging and/or worrying aloud about Lawrie’s performance at the plate?

    He’s had 125 PA so far this year, since he kinda had a rushed spring training would 200 PA’s be about right?

    • Rag when ever you want, it’s your right as a fan. Just please have a rational argument as to why “he sucks”.

      I think his swing looks fine, he’s hit a lot of balls at people. HIs .222 Babip is pretty low compared to the past two years (.313).

      I think he’ll break out soon.

  34. I offered a light “boo” of Escobar because he’s a homophobe, but other than that, I don’t boo other players. I really don’t understand the really loud chorus of boos I heard for Kelly Johnson, other than the whole “that’s a name I recognize!” thing, despite the fact that Johnson not being a Jay anymore was the Jays’ decision, not Johnson’s necessarily.

    That said, I don’t quite understand the Jays fans that booed taking offense with Escobar’s gesture. If you’re going to boo a guy, and tell him he sucks, and tell him all of the other off-colour things that I heard said, you can’t very well be offended when he succeeds against your team and then rubs it in. If you’re going to dish it out, you have to be able to take it as well.

    • problem with that. is the vast majority of people who dish it out have absolutely no sense of humour when it comes to being dished on. hence people actually apparently get upset when things like this happen.

  35. The three “This” links dont work for me, but i hope one is bautistas tantrums at called strikes. What escobar did is worse than that? Or,as already pointed out, the god & jesus thing that so many athletes do . . . Now thats offensive

  36. My thought is, who cares? Suck it up and move on. Escobar is not the smartest guy around and this is just a silly gesture.

    Don’t risk getting your own players ejected or whatever. You know warnings will be given and any little thing after will lead to ejections.

  37. its no different when the Jays do the annoying lo viste every time they hit a double. That shit is getting old

  38. What I though was quite ironic and distasteful was fans chanting at Escobar the very same thing he had written on his eye black.

    After the controversy last year I’m pretty sure that everyone chanting it knew exactly what it meant.

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