KANSAS CITY, Mo. — I'll just have to live with the regret of not standing next to Jose Bautista when he quoted "Talladega Nights." But MLB.com reporter Jordan Bastian was there, getting Bautista's reaction to coming up short to winner Prince Fielder in the Home Run Derby on Monday night:
"It's like Ricky Bobby said: 'If you're not first, you're last.' That's the way I look at things."
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) July 10, 2012
Not that there's anything wrong with Will Ferrell movies (some of them, anyway), it's just you don't necessarily expect ballplayers born in the Dominican Republic to quote them. Jay Bruce, yes. David Price, sure. However, when you consider what the quote means and how competitive these major leaguers are, it makes sense.
(And, probably unrelated, Bautista vaguely resembles Sacha Baron Cohen, who played the bad racer-car driver guy in "Talladega Nights." The stubble and the ears have a resemblance, anyway.)
In describing the Bautista-Ricky Bobby moment to me, Bastian said Bautista was not kidding around, and that he actually took offense when another reporter asked him if he were really all that upset about losing in the finals. Bautista gave him a look as if to say, "Who wouldn't be?" Bautista might have been quoting a light and breezy comedy, but that whole "If you're not first, you're last" deal resonates with most pro athletes. Even in a Home Run Derby that doesn't count for much but pride.
But if we find out that Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion bump knuckles and tell each other "Shake and Bake," after a home run, the Blue Jays really ought to change the movie in the clubhouse.