It pains me to pen this article as a loyal Toronto Blue Jays supporter and appreciative fan of the accomplishments of slugger Jose Bautista. However, if the Blue Jays are going to rise above expectations, Joey Bats needs to man up play through the pain and stop the umpire berating.
Bautista missed 70 games last season with a legitimate freak wrist injury that required offseason surgery. He began the season fully recovered and ready to mash, but has missed five games and counting with a sprained ankle, back spasms accompanied with a fever and an ear infection.
During the first week, Bautista missed three games for his wonky ankle, but attended an MLB Promo Event for the MLB The Show video game hours before game time. I understand the rigors of a 162-game season and the toll it can take on one’s body, but there comes a time to play through the pain and lead your team through the trenches in the face of adversity.
Bautista is the face of the franchise and a feel-good story from rags to riches, but somewhere along the way, he lost the humbleness that made fans gush. As of late, Bautista doesn’t have an at bat where he doesn’t glare, bicker or voice his displeasure to an umpire about a called strike. Bautista started this trend last season, and it has increasingly gotten worse to the point where the media and John Gibbons have addressed it.
Bautista was quoted in the media earlier this season when asked about the umpiring. “Sometimes I have trouble more than other players dealing with my production being affected by somebody else’s mediocrity,” It’s just the way I am as a person. It’s a tougher pill to swallow for me sometimes.”
These comments obviously didn’t go unnoticed by the umpires around the league, and they’re probably not the crew you want to declare war on early in the season.
Hopefully the slugger can refocus and put that passion towards crushing a baseball over the wall 50 or so times this season.