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Texas Rangers v Toronto Blue Jays

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?

Comments (84)

  1. It’s really interesting. We can obviously see what Jose is saying on camera, word for word and throwing his shit back on the field isn’t the greatest look… but guys. Why is this okay for our hockey players to do this? I see it all the time, you can read lips (or watch the 24/7 shows) these guys are telling refs they’re fucking wrong, how the fuck can you call this or that, toss their sticks around when getting tossed, etc. etc., and they’re heroes? Can we figure out this contradiction first before proclaiming Jose to be a big baby?

  2. Missed the game yesterday, but this clip reminds me that – for whatever this matters – the real stories always point to Edwin Encarnacion being the real ‘leader’ on the team, especially with the Spanish players. I recall the story of Escobar showboating in Spring Training a few years back, only to be pulled aside by Encarnacion and told ‘that isn’t how things are done on the Blue Jays’.

    Not that this really matters, just find it a bit interesting that despite so much focus on Bautista being the ‘team leader’, Edwin may actually fill that role a bit more.

  3. WHO CARES

  4. I guess Jose wasn’t a leader when he got in the way of Lawrie’s altercation with Gibby as well? I seem to remember Griffen liked that move.

    The crap about Bautista is a joke. People want to find a meaning for why the team isn’t going to be as good as they thought it would be and they invent stories. Its how religion started.

    Your team sucks. The reason is because they haven’t been good. None of the other bullshit that you invent really means anything.

  5. Never even thought about the Wells one. You can bet the same meatheads who whined about Wells not showing enough emotion are the ones calling for Bautista to be benched. People need to stop comparing their fucking little league experiences to big league baseball.

    • This is an interesting point, but one that may or may not be true. Stoeten likes to do just this: lament that there are Blue Jays fans who are critical for one reason or another, and then casually assume that these are the same fans who were critical of the team some time before for a contradictory reason. ‘What are we asking of our team with these contradictory complaints?’ is a common opinion expressed around here, aiming to be contrarian, but coming across as very presumptive about the target of your scorn.

      If it’s true that the fans who were upset about Rios being non-chalant are the ones upset that Bautista, then sure, that’s hypocritical. But isn’t it possible that there are two different viewpoints on this, and that each viewpoint is shouted vociferously by different groups of crazy twitter fanatics when their complaint manifests itself? Why would one assume that ‘the masses’ are all on the same page – that they hated Rios for being lazy and boo him for it now, and are bothered by Bautista’s inability to handle a call not going his way and his failure to lead the team? To me this seems like quite the assumption.

      I’ll be the first to complain that Bautista doesn’t present himself as an elite-level MLB player when he gets all frazzled by close calls not going his way, especially when he’s in a slump. But I wasn’t among those who complained about Rios nor Wells for laziness (although I did for lack of performance), and I also see a considerable leap between ‘he can’t handle slumps’ and ‘he fails as a leader’. So where do I fit your strawman?

  6. There is a fine line between being the competitive nut who wants to win at all costs and finds the drive to be a successful MLB player, and the competitive nut that overreacts when frustration boils over. You can tell Jose is a super intense guy and he manages to contain his emotions most of the times, but like most humans, sometimes his emotions get the better of him. There is nothing more to this story than the fact that Jose felt he was wronged in a situation that meant a lot to him, and he could not contain his emotions.

  7. I didn’t watch the game, so I’m basing this off what I saw on the highlights, but it seemed to me that Bautista was more upset about getting tossed than about the pitch itself, no? He strikes out, says something to the ump, and then starts walking back to the dugout. He only turns around again as/after he gets tossed, and then he blows a gasket. But it’s pretty common for Bautista to complain about a call just enough to make his point, but not so much that he gets tossed, and it seemed to me like he was trying to do that here too.

    Either way, obviously this is right on point.

    • Well, I think it was when he got tossed that he decided to tell the ump what how he really felt. You can always expect to get tossed for chirping about balls and strikes.

  8. Bautista is who he is. He’s been like this for a while. U should lead my example, but he obviously can’t control it and it’s not that big of a deal

    I mean, when he stepped in front of Lawrie after Lawrie was a dick, that’s leadership. No one else stepped in, Bautista did that himself . That’s leadership. So questioning him over this is fucking stupid

  9. I’m so sick of how we try to police everything about these guys. Lawrie is too agressive. Bautista too mad. Lind too dopey. Rasmus doesn’t try.

    I don’t care.

    And just for good measure: fuck you Griffin. What the fuck do you know about anything?

  10. Hey guys, we’re 10 games out of the playoffs, lets bench one of our best hitters.

    • Exactly. Yeah let’s bench him for caring about the game. We need more guys to stand around quietly picking their nose like Rasmus.

  11. I don’t care if he is an asshole at times as long as he is a good player. Hell, fill the team with the biggest assholes in the league and I’ll enjoy watching them as long as they help the team win on the field.

  12. I can’t find the video right now, but in 2004 I’m pretty sure David Ortiz was suspended after getting ejected (for arguing balls & strikes I believe) and then throwing a bunch of bats on the field in the direction of the umps. Try as I might I can’t find a single article questioning Ortiz’s leadership after the incident (although maybe its just because of pre-GIF/Youtube/instant reaction era).

    Toronto media and fans are absolutely obnoxious when it comes to stuff like this, don’t show emotion and they hate you, but show too much emotion and you’re an asshole.

  13. David Ortiz – spiritual leader of the Red Sox had 8 career ejections as of August, 2010, where he was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. They should get rid of that bum. Clearly not a leader.

    Also, I tried to look up Paul O’Neill’s career ejections and couldn’t find it and I’m going to assume that’s because the number is too large for the internet to calculate. O’Neill is a True Yankee (Tm) and a “warrior” according to probably most people bitching about Bautista.

  14. How is it that a hockey player can drop their gloves, get in a fight and get a game misconduct and that’s interpreted as “getting the team fired up” but Bats gets intense in the 9th inning and he’s ostracized? I’ve got no doubt that, if the Jays pulled a rally together and won the game, you’d see these same slackjaws calling Bautista a hero.

    • You’re comparing apples and oranges. For one, fighting doesn’t get you a game misconduct, it’s a 5 minute penalty.

    • They were in the middle of a rally when Bautista was up, and he completely lost his at bat once the first strike was called.

  15. Of course if nobody had been thrown out it it would be becuase the team has quit…has no heart…they dont care and so on

    Bottom line, when you win everything is blue sky but when you are 10+ out is all crap

    End of

  16. …maybe he was just upset about the decision to have Melky bunt.

    • Indeed, the thing lost in all this seems to be how stupid that bunt call was. I’m sure Blair loved it though.

  17. How about this for meaning, the guy is an entitled douche.

  18. Hey, there’s a really calm Dominican man who always responds with grace and quiet dignity even when he’s wronged – said no one ever

  19. It’s how you go about arguing calls.

    Ortiz doesn’t get ripped because he picks his fights and takes his lumps. .

    Bautista whinces and shrugs on nearly every boarding call which is too much for the Umps liking. Now he is marked, and he makes his own bed.

    I believe in baseball karma. Umps makes calls sometimes and then realize, hey, I fucked that up. If a cat takes his lumps well, then he’ll give you a break next time. I’ve seen it. Pick your goddamned fights Jose, fuck.

    • How, exactly, is he marked?

      • Like saying……. pick your fight when the call was obviously a strike!

        He is marked because umpires do what women do at the mall, gossip and talk about players that piss them off and show them up. As if the 4 of them don’t say before a game, “Hey guys, where you eating at tonight? Hey did you see Bautista lose his shit on Darling the other night? I’m telling you what, I got no time for that crap, if he acts up I’m not putting up with it”

        Marked like Matt Cooke, or Raffi Torres.

        He’s not going to get breaks eventually.

        A guy like Mark Derosa will get breaks.

        • OK, so you’ve made up some little stories. Great.

          Evidence, maybe?

          • Sorry Stoet, I don’t believe Bill James has created a stat tracker on that yet, but I say yet.

            Sorry to hear about your friend. Keep on keeping on.

    • Pick your fights?

      Huh?

      If ever you are going to fight, why NOT in the 9th inning when the game is over one way or the other anyway.

      • Because you had two guys in scoring position and you’re the winning run.
        That’s why.

        I agree with Gruber’s Bastard Son- the karma bit him in the ass on the second pitch. I don’t think he swung at that ball, but do you think he’s gonna get the benefit of the doubt from any of the umps on the field after bitching about the first pitch?

        No fucking way.

        Pick your spots, son.

  20. THole again today, interesting

  21. 1 word response to this post: Yep

  22. Bitching and moaning about someone else’s bitching and moaning. Time for a game of spot the asshole.

  23. I feel like it sets a bad example for the rest of the team when your best player constantly makes excuses for his own failures instead of taking responsibility and trying to improve his game by protecting the zone if he has two strikes against him. Or in this case, not letting a borderline first-pitch strike call go and putting together a terrible at-bat in a key spot because he let the ump get in his head.

    It’s one thing if a player spazzes when a truly horrible call is made and it directly costs his team, but it’s another matter when he’s bitching about borderline balls and strikes. Especially a first-pitch borderline strike. And in this case it was an obvious strike.

    I generally think Griffin’s an idiot, but I thought his article was fairly reasonable this time around.

    • For serious??? Sets a bad example. What are these guys, 6? Do you go to the bar, watch a guy chirp someone, get his ass kicked, and then think wow…he set a bad example for me. How am I not going to get in a fight after seeing this “example”…cmon… The players are grown men last I checked. Bautista didn’t like the call, it was a horseshit call, he made a decision. There is no narrative here, there is no ‘example’ here. If EE is looking, thinking, “god, now that I have an example I have nothing else I can do but follow said example….” then its all fucked anyway

  24. “… rec league team full of dads daydreaming about post-game beers or a collection of high school kids?”

    The really disturbing this about this is why are a team full of dads daydreaming about a collection of high school kids. That’s creepy.

  25. Guys….I think this says more about how passed Jose is with the week of pop ups he was having rather than a missed strike, or not, by an umpire

  26. Oooops……..pissed

  27. Gibbons told Bautista to throw a tantrum to deflect attention away from his incredibly idiotic decision to have Melky sac bunt with two on and no out, two runs down. Brutal choice.

  28. I don’t like Bautista’s constant harping at the umpires. But that does not matter.
    It matters not at all what I think; it matters what AA and Beeston think.

    The bigger issue is just who is Jose Bautista and what kind of player is he?

    We’ve seen him be the guy who constantly tries to yank the ball out of the yard
    regardless of the situation. We’ve seen boneheaded base running and mediocre fielding.

    We’ve also seen him cut down his swing and take the ball to right field to drive home the run that wins the game. We’ve seen him run the bases with calculated aggression in a way that helps the team. He’ll never have great range or take great routes. But we’ve seen him go through periods where he makes all the routine plays, & makes a few special plays.
    And oh, that arm!

    So which guy is he: is he the self centered, petulant “me first” all or nothing slugger?
    Or is he the talented superstar learning his way on what may become the first winning team he has ever played on?

    That is the call of AA and the Beest. If they decide its the former, Jose will be a core piece traded for other core pieces. If they decide it is the latter, they’ll go to the wall with him and hope he’s here to raise a championship banner.

    I’m good with it either way.

  29. I don’t really have that much of a problem with him getting tossed or any of the “leadership” BS being thrown around…….

    What I do have a problem with is that he checked out of that at bat after one pitch with the tying run in scoring position.

    That is not called caring about the team, fire or whatever spin this article is trying to put on it. It’s called a boneheaded at bat.

  30. honestly, he should be pissed about more than just one bad call.. he should be pissed about the whole season so far.

  31. Jose was just upset that Melky bunted for an out instead of swinging away. Pretty understandable.

  32. That pitch was a ball all game long in fact closer pitches right on the outside corner were called balls all day ! And in the bottom of the ninth bases loaded ass hat decides to call it strike one putting Bautista in a hole! I dunno if Jose said something prior to his last at bat that irked the ump but he should have kept his mouth shut until after the at bat was over. He wasnt going to get a close call after that and might as well just swung three times. Although he was right and it was low outside even us lonely beer league guys know that the umpires in today’s game are above reproach and pull their own tantrums at perceived slights by players. What happened to the mandatory strike zone ? Why isn’t there some sort of system in place to police umpires? Is it in fear of the union and another labour dispute with umpires ? They have all the power and can’t even be looked at wrong without instant revenge being handed down. To make a blown call on purpose to levy punishment against a player should be a instant suspension period. And there should be one strictly enforced strike zone not every umps personal zone which by the way was supposedly fixed years ago with strike zone box we have today and is suppose to be the guideline umps follow but don’t !

  33. The ONLY thing that really bothers me about this is that the call that pissed Jose off was strike one. He then couldn’t compose himself not just for the next pitch but the next two, and was still so steamed after the third pitch that he barked enough to get tossed. It just bothers me that he doesn’t have the mental fortitude to put the call behind him in a situation where he could have made a huge impact, instead letting his temper ruin his entire at-bat. Get pissed about the call, sure, no problem. But you gotta be able to take a couple deep breaths and focus on the at-bat because as the old adage goes, you get three strikes for a reason.

    • So, if he lost his cool, then next pitch hit a mistake into the seats, but was still rattled would you be saying the same thing? Probably not.

    • Amazing! What else was in his head yesterday? Do tell!

  34. WWJMD
    What would John McDonald Do?

  35. So Bautista got angry/emotional over a perceived bad call. He subsequently swung at two terrible pitches because of it, and it happened at a could-have-been crucial point in the game. It sucks. It’s baseball.

    Perspective… Lawrie, Arencibia and Rasmus swing at terrible pitches ALL THE TIME.

  36. “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?”

    Really? You don’t know what that means? What are you, retarded?

    “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)”

    You do know that the timing of this particular incident is entirely the point, right?

    Unbelievable.

  37. woof

  38. Paul Oneill aka the heart of the yankees aka one of the great yankee “teammates” used to lose it on the regular. People never called him a selfish piece like they are to Jose.

    Fuck off with the hate. Dont have to condone it but fuck me the sky aint falling in on us cuz Jose showed some ill timed emotion

  39. Is it maybe time for Bautista to go? Not that I want him to, but every player has a shelf life in any one place and maybe the fans no longer care that he hits home runs especially in a place like Toronto who would run their own mother out of town if she made a bad lasagna on a Sunday night.

  40. Ok, I’m late to the game here, so nobody is going to read this. Too bad, because I’d really like to illustrate just how fucking stupid this post is.

    The state of… let’s call it Jays Nation is fucking brutal. There are seemingly two factions. There are the absolute morons that want to bench Bautista and undo the Marlins trade. Then there is the group lead by Stoeten and Wilner who seemingly believe that you shouldn’t question the players or the organization. Certainly not without this ridiculous burden of ‘proof’ as if this was some sort of hearing.

    Well I represent the middle. I have followed the Jays for about 25 years. I watch virtually every game, even in the worst of seasons. I’m not one to overreact to minor bumps in the road, but I can’t — for the fucking life of me — understand this new fad where calling out player behaviour or under performance gets you labelled an idiot by bloggers or talk show hosts. Fuck that.

    Jose Bautista is an enormously talented baseball player. He is one of the most feared power bats in MLB. He has a cannon of an arm and plays excellent defense. He runs out ground balls and generally displays absolutely every on-field attribute one would hope for in a player.

    He also seems to be a tremendous leader. I always see him talking to his teammates and I gained a lot of respect for him when he implanted himself in the middle of the Lawrie situation.

    But let’s not pretend that he doesn’t have a GIANT cry-baby attitude when he’s slumping. Let’s not pretend he doesn’t frequently berate umpires.

    Let’s be clear here: you can appreciate Bautista as a great player and you can ALSO call him out for his one glaring shortcoming. Especially because it’s something that he can control. It is a weakness that he can fix. His outbursts are not good for him or the team.

    Overall, he’s still a giant positive for a baseball team. But that doesn’t mean we, as fans, can’t hope that he’d wise up and be even better.

    Beyond that, what the fuck did you actually write?

    1. Fuck you. Jose might have been wrong, but how dare you get upset about it! You’re a mere fan!

    2. Fuck Griffin. And the rest of you. How dare you suggest that something is wrong with this team? Can’t they just vastly underperform without anyone getting upset and searching for reasons why?

    Let me address this one: maybe it IS just a statistical anomaly that so many Jays have underperformed. Maybe pitching injuries are just a matter of shitty luck and has nothing to do with the training staff or the way the organization handles pitchers. But since when are fans not allowed to be fucking fans? Since when can we not suggest potential reasons for failures? These days, it seems like you can’t even bring up anything without being called a mouth-breathing idiot that isn’t providing any ‘proof.’

    What the fuck is that?

    3. Fuck you guys. You always complained that other guys didn’t care ENOUGH.

    Well that’s just fucking stupid. I was one of those people that thought that Rios never gave two shits. Maybe I’m wrong about that, but that’s a different discussion (never thought that way about Wells though).

    The point is, Bautista is misdirecting his passion in a way that’s harmful to him and the team. I didn’t want Rios to yell at umps, I wanted him to at least look angry WITH HIMSELF for his continued failure. Or at least run out a grounder once in a while.

    I will never question Bautista’s passion. I can see that he wants to win and he wants to do well. But what we’re looking for is for him to channel his passion appropriately. And it’s not an unreasonable fucking ask.

    4. Fuck. I mean, it was stupid, but what does it matter?

    Well fuck, man. It matters for a few reasons. First, it was fucking 0-1 after that call. The tying run is on second base. I’d like to know that my guy hasn’t lost his shit and has his wits about him for the rest of the at bat. And if you look at the two pitches he swung at, it’s not unreasonable to think that he was too riled up and lost his focus.

    And YES, that could be complete bullshit. Maybe it didn’t effect him at all and he just struck out because it’s baseball, and hitting is goddamn hard. But by freaking out in a completely unwarranted instance, you’ve given everyone permission to question your judgement on the next two goddamn pitches.

    Secondly, it matters because we’re all pissed at how this season has gone down so far. There have been many factors leading to this abysmal record, including a number of games where the Jays have seemingly invented new ways to lose. This was an unnecessary blow up in a critical point in the game. It may (or, admittedly, may not) have influenced his entire at bat. Hell, it may have influenced EE’s at bat (though I doubt that).

    Had EE come up with a game-tying single, it certainly would have been a factor not having Jose for extra innings. So guess fucking what? It matters. They’ve dug a giant fucking hole and we can’t afford stupid, petty shit. And it hurts even worse when it’s from our best.

    I am a Jays fan.

    I don’t want to fire Gibby, but people who suggest that he should be aren’t idiots (or not necessarily idiots, at least).

    I don’t want to bench Bautista. But I do want him to continue to grow and be better.

    I want Lawrie to grow up. And I believe he will, but I’m getting increasingly impatient.

    I want JP to take a walk. Just try it.

    I want someone to teach Colby how to cut down on your swing with two strikes.

    My point is: I want to be a fan.

    I want to call out players who are playing like shit or acting like douche bags. I want to question strategy and training staff. And I don’t want fucking blog comments to come with a burden of proof.

    So fuck you. And fuck this post. And fuck me for being late, writing this exhaustive essay for no one to read.

  41. Wait… did the Rangers guy really say it was “a WEAK display of IMmaturity”? Because that means it was a strong display of maturity. So really, he was praising Bautista, not bashing him.

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