Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista has acknowledged that he has issues arguing about balls and strikes with umpires. Bautista also has said that he's "trying to get better" at not letting his emotions get the best of him.
Jays manager John Gibbons wants Bautista to try harder.
Gibbons expressed disappointment that Bautista argued with umpire Bill Welke on Sunday after striking out, and was ejected in the sixth inning of a 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. Not having Toronto's top slugger in the lineup couldn't have helped — and a team that's 5 1/2 games out of a playoff spot with just over a month to go in the season needs every bit of help it can get.
Via the Toronto Star:
“The bottom line is we needed him in the game,” Gibbons said of Bautista. “Say your piece and get the hell out of there. We’re trying to get in the playoffs, we need you on the field. He’s a marked man in this game. (Plate ump) Bill Welke? I thought he had a pretty good (strike) zone today. It was steady, he was calling strikes. He was looking to call strikes. But we need you in the game.”
Bautista notes that if he says "anything at all" — arguing balls and strikes — "he gets tossed." The fact is, players and coaches are expressly not allowed to "say anything at all" about the strike zone, and it's only the good graces of individual umpires that allow the offended person to blow off steam by expressing some displeasure.
But, like Gibbons said, Bautista simply can't say his piece and get the heck out of there. Bautista didn't swear, and it was a relatively quick ejection, but you can see on video that Welke tells him to stop complaining. Bautista didn't stop. Well, you're outta there, Jose.
For the record, the called third strike was a strike. Too close to take. It's labeled as pitch No. 7:
Not only was Bautista wrong about strike three (although he could have taken issue with an earlier pitch in the sequence — he didn't say), but he was wrong to keep barking at the umpire. Him not getting another at-bat might have cost the Jays a game, something they can't afford.
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