|Courtesy of Yahoo/Getty Images|
It’s a lesson that opposing pitchers should really know by now: do not mess with Joey Bats.
Whether they plunk Jose Bautista, his teammates, or simply look at him the wrong way, it certainly doesn’t take much to rub Joey Bats the wrong way. And he usually retaliates the best way he knows how; with his bat.
I was fortunate enough to be there for yesterday’s game, so in between praying for the ball to stay fair and freaking out after realizing Bautista hit a home run, hardly anybody around us noticed that Jose chirped Darren O’Day just before he reached home plate.
The screencap below of the fans in section 130C is one of the the best crowd reactions I’ve ever seen. The fact that there were so many people in unison that jumped out of their seats and launched their hands in the air really warms my heart as a Blue Jays fan.
At first I wondered what prompted the taunting by Jose Bautista, but it turns out the seed was planted one night before. Darren O’Day struck out Jose Bautista swinging to end the seventh inning of Friday’s game, and this staredown ensued between the two.
O’Day kind of skipped off the mound in celebration, and rightfully so; he ended a scoring opportunity for the Blue Jays in a rather emphatic fashion. For some reason, Bautista didn’t take too kindly to his reaction.
Call me crazy, but I get the sense like these two guys don’t really like each other.
My lip-reading skills are horrendous at best, but it looked like Jose Bautista said something to the effect of “Say what? What was that?” He stood there in the batter’s box after he struck out and basically stared down Darren O’Day the entire time waiting for a reaction.
To me, it seems like Bautista actually instigated the whole situation, but it’s difficult to tell with the timing of the camera angle. Regardless of who started it, Jose Bautista finished it (at least temporarily) the following game with this game-winning home run.
And just to add injury to insult, Bautista chirped O’Day just before he reached home plate as the cameras captured him saying something to the effect of “keep talking” (thanks to GameReax for the GIF).
|Courtesy of Yahoo/AP|
It may not have been the traditional “eye for an eye” retaliation by the Blue Jays, but one of the things that makes Jose Bautista so incredibly entertaining is he almost always answers with a clutch hit.
Now, this saga between the Blue Jays and Orioles is likely far from over. Knowing the old school mentality of Buck Showalter, it wouldn’t really surprise anyone if Jose Bautista got a fastball between the numbers in his first at bat this afternoon.
If he’s smart, Showalter will wait until the game is beyond reach for either team before he calls for a beanball to Bautista and puts him on base for Edwin Encarnacion. But perhaps the sanctity of the game is more important and the Orioles will go for it right away.
Jose Bautista may occasionally run his mouth, but he backs it up. Were it anybody else, it might be considered childish behaviour to stare down an opposing pitcher like that. But it seems like that kind of thing just fuels Bautista to perform even better.
Remember, you don’t want to see Jose when he’s angry … because it usually doesn’t end well for the opposition.