Toronto Blue Jays: It’s Okay to Criticize Jose Bautista


Toronto Blue Jays: It’s Okay to Criticize Jose Bautista

Is Jose Bautista a whiner? Yes.

Jul 12, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; As Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (19) argues his ejection with home plate umpire Jerry Meals (41), manager John Gibbons (5) comes to the plate in the ninth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals won 11-10. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Does that mean we can’t appreciate his unique contributions to the Toronto Blue Jays? No.

Whether he’s openly questioning the decisions of management or arguing balls and strikes with the umpire crew, Bautista has earned his reputation as one of MLB’s biggest whiners. He’s also earned six consecutive all-star appearances, dominating the game with his bat and glove.

There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging both sides of Bautista’s game. He’s a fiercely competitive player. Sometimes this leads Bautista to punish Darren O’Day and the Baltimore Orioles for throwing at him or behind his back. Other times it leads to Bautista’s ejection from the game – a selfish and immature outcome that ultimately punishes his own team.

We saw both sides of Bautista in Sunday’s 10-11 loss to the Kansas City Royals. Bautista smacked a run-producing double off of starter Edinson Volquez in the top of the sixth inning to jump start an eight-run frame from the Jays. Things switched tempo in the eighth inning, however, when Bautista got himself kicked out of the game for arguing with home plate umpire Jerry Meals. The Jays had a runner on first base at the time with two outs; the game was tied 10-10.

This was an undoubtedly selfish and immature play by Bautista and it hurt the team: the Jays lost their biggest bat at a key moment in the game. Bautista was even given some time and space by Meals to vent his frustrations before the slugger took things too far.

I don’t understand the advantage in denying any of this, especially if you’re a serious fan of the game, but some people were quick to defend Bautista. You must be a pretty big fan of the Kool-Aid to deny the obvious.

One argument suggested that Bautista didn’t get himself kicked out of the game – Meals kicked him out. In a literal sense, this is true, but it makes for an incredibly convoluted argument. Bautista knew that his continued antics would lead to an ejection. He made the decision to continue, not Meals, ensuring the ejection would take place. It’s that simple – only a lawyer could stand by this type of inane argument.

The other argument – the type of argument exemplified by the rabid, know-it-all fan boy – essentially amounts to the empty claim that no one should speak ill of Saint Bautista. It’s the umpire crew, the TV broadcast team (who noted Bautista was given the opportunity to complain before his ejection) and disloyal fans who ultimately bear responsibility for his ill-timed outbursts. If you don’t understand this, then you’re not a true fan.

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  • In other words, we’ve read things the wrong way; Bautista is actually free of any fault. We should be pointing our fingers at the true bad guys: everyone else, including ourselves.

    I don’t want to venture into the realm of ad hominem attacks, but I’ll take the word of an umpire and a former baseball player turned broadcaster over that of an anonymous online “super fan”. After all, professional experience – which our dear friend JasonTBJ (or @BluJays__?) clearly lacks – does count for something.

    Does this mean I “hate” Bautista? I hope that’s not the impression you now have of me.

    I’ve just tried to express my dislike for ignorance, particularly when it’s embraced like Kool-Aid.

    What do you think? Is Bautista immature and selfish at times? Is it wrong to question him as a loyal fan of the Jays? Does the Kool-Aid even taste good these days?

    Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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