Good lord. Baseball player gets angry at umpire in the heat of competition. Stop the fucking presses.
Yes, Jose Bautista was wrong when yesterday afternoon he lost his cool and got himself tossed in the ninth inning of a game that could have easily gone to extra innings. And he was wrong about umpire Gary “don’t call me Ron” Darling missing the call on a low strike in the first pitch of the at-bat, as we can see via Brooks Baseball:
But, to me, at least, two wrongs don’t make a “disgrace,” a “crybaby,” not a “leader,” and whatever else just short of “seal-fucking baby eater” that people want to level on him.
I’m sure it’s real fucking cathartic for frustrated fans to camp out on some kind of completely fictitious and abysmally fucking negative pole, like the one offered by Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star, when he writes that Bautista’s act “once again shows that the Jays are still more like a group of 25 individuals than they are a 25-man team.” But, honestly, what the hell does that even mean?
It’s a fucking load of populist pablum that lets the #BenchBautista crew– which apparently is a thing, if minor and hopelessly, hilariously dull-minded– feel right in their deeply visceral belief that they have the solution to a problem that doesn’t exist (or at the very least that they can come nowhere close to proving exists).
We’re to believe that the Jays aren’t a “team” because their record belies the perceived talent on the roster? We’re to believe that because Brett Lawrie doesn’t understand the finer points of which runs matter in a ninth-inning come-from-behind rally– and is immediately corrected for his idiocy– shows that there’s some kind of leadership vacuum here? That a Major League Baseball club really needs a leader, like it’s a rec league team full of dads daydreaming about post-game beers, or a collection of high school kids? And, were it not for the lack of such abstractions the team might have a better record?
If only reality was that laughably simple.
As for Griffin, it’s completely warped to me that we’re talking about such words coming from one of the crew of reporters who were apoplectic over J.P. Ricciardi’s refusal to care enough about… whatever to live in the city whose team he served. A city, I should add, that still boos Alex Rios because of their perception that he was lazy and didn’t care enough, and could never fully embrace Vernon Wells for much the same reason.
But hey, let’s all try to extinguish the fire in Bautista’s belly by taking giant steaming shits down his throat. At least it allows us to pretend there’s some explanation– some manifestation of karma, some vengeful umpire-led conspiracy, some unseeable force of poor leadership and selfishness– for the way the season has gone so far. I mean, it’s far easier to point fingers and think we’ve got it all figured out than to actually grapple with the notion that things may really not be as bad as the results make it seem and that the universe sometimes just isn’t fucking fair, eh? Ask any sports talk radio caller that one– because that’s about the weak-ass level this discussion seems to be operating on.
And I say that acknowledging, as I did off the top, that Jose’s anger was misguided and poorly handled.
No, Rangers broadcaster Tim Grieve is not out of line when, according to a Canadian Press piece in the National Post, he says, “You turn into a cry baby when you act like that. Go sit down and look at the pitch and then apologize to the umpire. That was a weak display of immaturity right there. Don’t blame it on the umpire. Go back in the dugout and look in the mirror.”
Thing is, what the hell does it matter beyond that? You can stammer and blurt “but- but- but- leadership! Selfishness! Disgrace!” all you want, but seriously, what does it matter? Put into words how this could have one iota of negative impact on the team (beyond his potentially not staying in a game that ended up going to extras)– careful, though, because whatever you say is probably going to be hilariously wrong or built on a foundation of ghosts. It was Bautista’s first ejection of the year. Encarnacion and Lawrie have ones too, and John Gibbons has three. Hey, but they didn’t fit some bullshit narrative (OK, maybe Lawrie’s did) so we didn’t have to talk about them.
It looks like a pretty run-of-the-mill ejection to me– Bautista says something while walking away, gets tossed, then stays to get his money’s worth– the kind that, with 67 in total so far this year, happen about once a day across the Majors:
Have we really never seen that from a good team before? From a leader before? From a presumed leader, even though we don’t really know anything about what goes on behind closed doors, before? Or are we just twisting the meaning to make it fit with whatever negative bullshit our guts are desperately telling us we must think about this frustrating team? Because I think it’s the latter, and I’m not going to let that happen to me. It was an ejection. It happens. No need to insist it’s so imbued with deep meaning.
Like, are we really that bored?