April 25, 2017

An Open Letter to Jose Bautista

October 15, 2015 by · 14 Comments 

Dear Jose Bautista,

Congratulations. No one has ever sullied a glorious moment faster than you did yesterday. You hurled that bat in the clincher over Texas as if someone had smeared it with pig waste, and then stared at Sam Dyson as if he was the one who did it.

Oh, that was a monumental home run all right. A laser beam in a pressure situation that won the game and sent your team into the American League Championship Series. It was hard to admire though, because your childishness immediately drew our attention from it to you. Some commentators have already opined that such actions will get fans excited about the game. If the home run that you hit isn’t exciting enough, then the game is dead. And calling it a “bat flip” is like calling your home run a lazy fly that barely carried out.

Jose, you can spare us that “just a moment” nonsense, and that it was an emotional moment. We know that you can control your emotions far better than that because if you couldn’t, you would never have been able to hit that pitch so far and so well.

How do you think Dyson felt about giving up that home run? Probably the same way you did the 3,521 times you didn’t reach base in your career, although it is doubtful any were as big a failure as Dyson’s moment yesterday. Oh, you’ve had your failures though, Jose, just like everyone from Mario Mendoza to Ty Cobb and you know, as we all do, that an inch higher or lower on your bat and that home run would have been a weak fly ball and the third out. Maybe half an inch.

That’s exactly the problem, though, Jose. With that glare and that bat heave, you weren’t celebrating your home run, you were wallowing in Dyson’s failure. I’m an old guy, but I try to avoid the “old days were better syndrome.” If guys want to perform a hand shake routine that’s more elaborate than John Travolta’s hand jive dance-scene in Grease, well, fine. The game is supposed to be fun. And if guys want to wear their hats sideways and their pants low, it doesn’t hurt me any, although I confess it bugs me. And I’m glad that Dyson didn’t put one in Edwin Encarnacion’s ear just because you hit a home run. That never made any sense, and just because Bob Gibson did it, doesn’t make it right. He didn’t act emotionally “in the moment.” But celebrating someone else’s failure, crosses a line, the line that represents respect for your fellow competitor. Now you turn Major League Baseball into the NFL, which is busy turning itself into the WWE. That’s not an old days versus new days deal. That is being an ass, whether it’s 2015 or 1915.

Sam Dyson was not your enemy, Jose. This isn’t war. Maybe the DiMaggios and Berras and Greenbergs and Fellers never acted this way because they had actually been in the real thing. Perhaps you should practice your perspective and not your bat heaves this off-season.

Baseball, as every player and fan knows, is a game of failure. You know that, Jose. You had a bright and shining moment of success in a historic setting yesterday, but you sullied it, you ruined it by your childish antics. How will you feel if Wade Davis comes on to strike you out in the eighth inning of the seventh game with the Blue Jays down by a run to maintain a Royal’s lead, and he glares at you and throws his glove fifty feet towards the dugout? You would deserve that, but here’s hoping he simply walks off the mound. After all, getting you out is what he’s supposed to do.

Tell you what, Jose; when you bat 1.000, then you can glare and slam bats to your heart’s content. Until then drop the bat, run the bases, and understand that if that pitch had moved another inch you’d be just another out. Your antics after that home run don’t make you a man, Jose, it makes you a brat, and all the talent in the world can’t overcome that. Not that you care what I think, but I am rooting for the depth of your character to match the breadth of your talent.

Most sincerely,

Austin Gisriel

Comments

14 Responses to “An Open Letter to Jose Bautista”
  1. Jeremy says:

    Unbelievably stupid article. Come on man. You are a joke.

  2. Mike Lynch says:

    And those of you who applaud Bautista are ridiculous.

  3. Austin says:

    @Jeremy – Must be a Bautista fan, Jeremy. It would explain the excessive reaction.

  4. Dirk Durstein says:

    As my dad would have said here, act like you have been there before. I understand getting caught up in the moment, but this drama actually detracted from it. A monster HR like that does not need a childish bit of acting out like that. And think of the poor guy on deck, who is bound to get knocked down after that demonstration. Don’t provoke the baseball gods. Here comes that 0 for Kansas City stretch.

  5. Al Smith says:

    Well stated. Professional ballplayers acting like 2 year olds need to be called out. Act like you’ve been there before

  6. Al Smith says:

    It’s no joke that we live in a culture where the common sports fan can’t even identify poor sportmanship and outright rude behavior that provides poor examples for our youth.

  7. Austin says:

    @Dirk Durstein – Your father is a wise man, Dirk, and I love your line, “Here comes that 0 for Kansas City stretch.”

  8. Austin says:

    @Al Smith@Al Smith – You know that there are Little Leaguers out there right now practicing their bat heaves.

  9. Paul Dunn says:

    I saw Mantle, Mays, and Ted Williams play and Bautista’s bat toss,etc. never would have happened. Nevertheless, that was a very long time ago. Bautista was fired up anf the seventh inning was a very emotional one for both teams. Maybe Bautista was a bit

  10. Don Hoover says:

    Jeremy, I guess you & Bautista must hang out together.. It explains the un-professional comment you made.

  11. I have to say while I respect the opinion of the author, I don’t agree with this article. One of my personal pet peeves are the “unwritten rules” of the game and how so many players try to enforce that. Baseball is littered with examples of exuberance and showmanship that have become part of lore (Fisk emphatically waving the ball fair and dancing around the bases; Ruth calling a home run and effectively “showing up a pitcher, etc…) yet they are never seen as excessive. For every bat flip there is a pitcher pumping their first and pointing to the sky after a strikeout. My point being, there is nothing wrong with some emotion, especially in such big moments, so just let them play!

  12. Austin says:

    @Andrew Martin – I was wondering if anyone would bring up Babe Ruth calling his shot. I would indeed categorize that as showmanship and not show-upsmanship. After all, you risk showing up yourself if you can’t succeed. And Fisk demonstrated exuberance and addressed the ball. When it stayed fair, he didn’t taunt Pat Darcy. Those are far different than Jose’s heave which, combined with the stare was a matter of shoving Dyson’s failure in his face. I don’t look at that as an “unwritten rule” of baseball, but of an understood respect that two opponents should have for one another. It’s as much about how two human beings should interact with each other as it is with two baseball players. Hopefully, courtesy, respect, and professionalism will not become passe; “hopefully,” but I don’t have much hope for that any more.

  13. mike says:

    The preponderance of evidence indicates that the Bambino did not call his shot. And there is a difference, I think, between Fisk’s celebration and Bautista’s hot dogging. That bat flip nonsense is bush. Plain and simple. Childish but oh so common. Quite agreed with Austin’s post–as much blather as there is about respect and professionalism, those qualities are scarce today. I’m just two new rules away from abandoning MLB after forty five years—once they eliminate actual baseball by introducing the loathsome dh into the National League, and once they finish the job of replacing umpires with machines, I’m gone. Not that anyone would notice or care.

  14. Austin says:

    @mike – Well said, Mike. Our entire culture is confusing childlikeness (Fisk waving the ball fair) and childishness (Bautista’s stare and his willingness on Saturday to throw Goins under the bus.)

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