During Tuesday night’s game, Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista thought that Jason Garcia, a pitcher who has never pitched above Class-A ball before this season, was throwing intentionally at him. A 93 MPH fastball from Garcia went right behind Bautista, about belt high, which warranted this immediate reaction. Three pitches later, Bautista puts one over the wall in left field for a home run. It’s what he did after that got so many Orioles fans, and even players mad.
After Bautista knew it was gone, he just slowly walked towards first base, and then flipped the bat prominently while watching his home run. This prompted a response from Orioles center fielder Adam Jones, who was yelling at Bautista from centerfield. Ryan Flaherty also had his say in the matter when Bautista passed him on the basepath.
The situation just seems too weird for Garcia to be intentionally throwing at Bautista. Nothing happened at any point in the game earlier to warrant a throw towards the Jays star slugger. Bautista was 0-4 in the game at the point and is hitting .149 so far in the season. Also, Garcia is 22 years old; he should be the one scared and anxious to face Bautista, not the other way around.
Of course, guys do not like it at all when you throw anywhere near them at any time. It is a scary situation that can lead to injury and in a sport where injuries can be career ending, it only adds to the fear. That is where I can see Bautista being frustrated, but not to the point where he feels that it is a personal attack against him, which I am fairly certain it was not. He most likely figured that it had to do with the beef that him and Darren O’Day have had over the years.
Earlier in the season, O’Day sent a pitch behind Bautista and in the same at bat, Bautista hit a home run. Here is the thing though: that is between him and O’Day, not Garcia. Unless O’Day is going to everybody in that Orioles bullpen to tell them to throw at Bautista, which I am also very sure he is not doing, then Bautista needs to recollect himself and not take everything so personal.
This whole situation made me think of a time when it was appropriate to throw at a batter. The answer I came to was “never”. Have your shouting match, three second fight before the other players break it up, or best them on the field, but do not throw at another player.
It is easy to say this as I watch from the stands as guys have on field issues with players from the other team and I have no idea what goes on in their head. It is also easy to say that you should never hit somebody with a pitch because you will never be in the situation the players are in at the time. I recognize all of that, but I still do not believe that these things should happen in baseball.
Let’s face it; baseball is a very cookie cutter sport. Celebration of personal accomplishments are met with severe scrutiny from fans, players and coaches. Unless you play “the right way”, you will be ostracized. Take Yasiel Puig for example: he bat flips, celebrates triples in the playoffs, and plays the game like there is no tomorrow, and so many people hate him for it. They feel he “disrespects the game”, but unless he punches every child in the stands while rounding the bases, he is not disrespecting the game. He could be doing some of the things that come from NFL players out of the off season that “disrespect the game”, but he is not, he is just playing baseball.
People also seem to forget along the way that this is a sport, or even a game. It is meant to be fun. The first lesson I was always taught in little league was to have fun, and I did. Somewhere along the line, whether it’s high school, college, the minor leagues or even the major leagues, the players forget to have fun and just see it as work. Yes, it is a business, but a fun business. You are being payed to play baseball; that is the dream. You put in all of the hard work to get there and to stay there, so why not approach it positively instead of downing it at every chance you get?
In cases like what happened between the Orioles and Blue Jays, I feel that Jose Bautista should get off of his high horse, because not everybody is out to get him. Some things are just coincidental, like a rookie pitcher who has only made it to Single A before this year having a 93 MPH fastball slip and go behind you. There is no need to get mad at him because you have had problems with one of his teammates in the past. Contrary to what you may think, not every single MLB pitcher is out to get you, whether you believe that or not.
We are all human, we make mistakes. Whether Bautista wants to perceive every mistake as an act against him or not, he can do that if he wants; I am not him. All I have to offer in the form of advice is to lighten up, enjoy the game you play for a living, bat flip or celebrate when you win a game or do it in a way that the other team will not take offense of (which they should not in the first place), and just have fun.
(Also, tell your fans to chill as well.)
tough son of a bitch right here with the baseball mitt and cardigan pic.twitter.com/pOXxv0EejR
— Jeff Sullivan (@based_ball) April 22, 2015