Jose Bautista might be the leader of Canada’s only baseball team, but that didn’t hold him back from saying a few choice words about the events that led to the brawl between Canada and Mexico at the World Baseball Classic on Saturday.
Speaking to reporters, Joey Bats said Chris Robinson‘s bunt to get on base in the ninth inning, with Canada up 9-3 at the time, was “uncalled for … especially after having two bad slides at second base, too.”
“I’m not buying the fact that teams are bunting when they’re up by six because of the rules of the WBC”, the slugger added, suggesting that doing do broke one of the “unwritten rules of the game”, and that “there’s no excuse” for breaking the code, whether run differential matters in the tournament or not.
It does, of course, and considering that Canada lost to Italy in a 14-4 game ended by the mercy rule in their tournament opener, building as big of a lead as possible against Mexico could very well have played into whether or not the team advanced.
Just ask the 2006 Canadian team that fell victim to the rule.
Unwritten rules are unwritten for a reason, and it’s usually the case that they would be difficult to justify. The WBC is a competitive tournament with a mercy rule to avoid the situation of a team running up the score, and Bautista’s comments seem to suggest some sort of arbitrary mark at which certain plays are no longer allowed.
Which is to say that is doesn’t make much sense, really. It’s not as though Italy stopped trying after they were up by six, and Canada not bunting until they allowed Mexico to be within striking distance is exactly what a team potentially needing runs should not do.
“There’s a lot more on the line than just personal success” for players participating in the WBC, as Bautista said. If so, why make the game less competitive by adhering to arbitrary unwritten rules? It’s not as though this is an exhibition match here.
Whether they have the support of the Toronto Blue Jays star or now, Canada will now play Team USA in a do-or-die game on Sunday to determine who will join Italy as the Pool D entrants to the second round.
Will Bautista stop trying to do whatever’s necessary to score during the regular season when Toronto is up by six or more? I’m assuming that the Blue Jays would rather that not happen.