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Is Jose Bautista asking for ump trouble?

Apr 5, 2013, 8:22 AM EDT

This story in the National Post about Jose Bautista arguing with umpires over the strike zone is interesting. Here’s a quote he gave Tuesday night after feeling like he got screwed on a couple ball/strike calls:

“Sometimes I have trouble more than other players dealing with my production being affected by somebody else’s mediocrity,” he said. “It’s just the way I am as a person. It’s a tougher pill to swallow for me sometimes.”

Buster Olney, in linking this story on Twitter this morning, had this to say:


We all know umpiring can be … erratic. But sometimes there’s a price to be paid for being correct in your criticism of authority, especially if it’s couched in the kind of “we all know those guys are awful” way Bautista couched it.  Even if the evidence points out that Bautista is being unequivocally boned at the plate, I’m not sure what he accomplishes by calling out the men in blue like this.

  1. Charles Gates - Apr 5, 2013 at 8:30 AM

    Bautista will bring light to a situation where a particular player is not being treated fairly, MLB will announce an investigation using all sorts of data as well as personal testimony and upon an analytical conclusion, MLB will publicly announce its plan of action to remediate various umpires’ areas of opportunity. Right? Riiight?

    • bsbiz - Apr 5, 2013 at 8:38 AM

      I hope I can hold enough air in my lungs so I don’t pass out before that happens.

      • Francisco (FC) - Apr 5, 2013 at 9:24 AM

        Not even the entire whale population of the world could collectively hold the amount of air necessary to avoid passing out.

  2. chacochicken - Apr 5, 2013 at 8:31 AM

    Dickey and Masterson were both getting squeezed on Opening Day but Umpires are the unassailable lords of the sport. You don’t want them starting an unofficial crusade against the Jays.

    • scoocha - Apr 5, 2013 at 9:47 AM

      You’re absolutely right and there lies the problem. This people are just window dressing for the sport. I didn’t see Bautista’s ABs and I don’t find him to be particularly good at anything other than swinging for the fences every time but if a “backlash” occurs just fire them. just because you’re in a union doesn’t mean you suddenly don’t have to do your job well.
      Also, why can’t baseball just start training new umps and then start using them once the current umpires’ deal runs out?

    • bigharold - Apr 5, 2013 at 12:56 PM

      “You don’t want them starting an unofficial crusade against the Jays.”

      Oh, I don’t know about that. e here on the Bride of the Death Star might not mind that.

      • cur68 - Apr 5, 2013 at 6:11 PM

        “Bride of the Death Star”?? You ever think, Harold, that you might be getting carried away with the Dark Side?

      • bigharold - Apr 5, 2013 at 7:43 PM

        Yes, but it’s OK. There is beer on the dark side.

  3. heyblueyoustink - Apr 5, 2013 at 8:36 AM

    Eh, just feed the umps some adderall. That’ll get them real focused. Hell, maybe it’ll give cowboy Joe West the ole’ eagle eye.

    • pdowdy83 - Apr 5, 2013 at 9:18 AM

      If they feed Joe West adderall can they suspend him for 25 games too like Carlos Ruiz got? That would be good for the game.

    • heyblueyoustink - Apr 5, 2013 at 9:22 AM

      Poor Chooch.

  4. nolanwiffle - Apr 5, 2013 at 8:38 AM

    Short answer: Yes

    Long Answer: Yes. Now shut your pie hole and play ball. It’s the first week of the season for Christ’s sake!

  5. nbjays - Apr 5, 2013 at 8:39 AM

    I think it’s high time someone spoke up and started a crusade against these “unassailable” umpires. It’s one thing to be mediocre to the detriment of the game, but another thing altogether to be petty and vindictive when that mediocrity is called out.

    Granted, there are some truly excellent umpires in this game (Jim Joyce comes to mind), but also some truly awful ones with giant chips on their shoulders (I’m looking at you Bob Davidson). When a player is not performing or is causing trouble, they are often sent down to the minors to “rehab”…. baseball needs to do the same with consistently underperforming/troublemaking umps, who, unlike the underperforming player, can have a real negative impact on the game.

    • indaburg - Apr 5, 2013 at 9:12 AM

      I understand his frustration and I think something needs to be done about awful umpiring but I don’t know if a player on a lone crusade is the right way to go about it. Some umpires are spiteful and vengeful creatures who allow their ego to overtake their better judgment. Making oneself into a sacrificial lamb won’t do much good and could ultimately hurt the team. MLB needs to get involved but, to paraphrase bsbiz above, don’t hold your breath.

      • Francisco (FC) - Apr 5, 2013 at 9:25 AM

        I understand his frustration and I think something needs to be done about awful umpiring but I don’t know if a player on a lone crusade is the right way to go about it.

        It worked for Batman.

      • indaburg - Apr 5, 2013 at 9:59 AM

        Joey B is Batman? It’s all starting to make sense now.

      • Kevin S. - Apr 5, 2013 at 1:01 PM

        Joey Bats and Bruce Wayne have never been seen together in the same room. Just sayin’.

      • cur68 - Apr 5, 2013 at 6:12 PM

        Batman? Phooey on Batman. He’s Beaverman. Far more mighty than Batman.

      • indaburg - Apr 5, 2013 at 6:46 PM

        It must be tough fighting crime with that bushy tail. What’s the Beaver-Signal? What’s the Beavermobile like?

  6. abaird2012 - Apr 5, 2013 at 8:45 AM

    I watch a fair number of Jays games, and have noticed that Bautista seems to concentrate his efforts on getting the walk rather than getting a good pitch to hit, regardless of the situation.

    • Josh Norman - Apr 5, 2013 at 9:59 AM

      Considering that, since the start of 2010, he’s hit more home runs than anyone else in baseball, I’d say he’s doing alright in terms of getting pitches to hit.

  7. skids003 - Apr 5, 2013 at 8:51 AM

    Actually, the umps aren’t as erratic as…sportswriters.

  8. gza385 - Apr 5, 2013 at 8:54 AM

    Does he know that the bad umpires aren’t going anywhere? They’re like Supreme Court Justices. They keep the job until they die.

  9. waiverclaim - Apr 5, 2013 at 9:17 AM

    Well…he’s right, isn’t he?

  10. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Apr 5, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    Perhaps other players will follow his example and not be afraid to point out that the Emperors are buck naked. At the very least, if he can get the opposing pitcher to complain there will at least be a sort of equilibrium in the umps petty spiteful game-calling proclivities. Perhaps so much so that the dude just defaults to calling what happens on the field.

  11. jdrew506 - Apr 5, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    The funny thing is he and some of the posters on here think its personal and it just happens to him. This has been going on forever, its just that most players are smart enough not to open their mouths to draw more attention to themselves.

    • nbjays - Apr 5, 2013 at 4:37 PM

      Which leaves the umpires free to continue to make shitty calls and no one dares stand up to them…. good plan.

      I’m sure that if you polled everyone who attends a major league game, you’ll find that none of them pay to go see the umpires, so the men in blue need to start doing the job they are paid to do and stop trying to be the main attraction. And if they are NOT doing their job properly, they should be taken to task for it.

      If a pitcher retaliates by throwing at a batter, he is usually ejected. If an ump retaliates by calling strikes on a batter on pitches that are blatantly out of the strike zone, there should be repercussions for that as well.

    • cur68 - Apr 5, 2013 at 6:15 PM

      He makes a stink about it and pitchtrack bears it out, this shit will change. SOMEONE has to have a go at the crappy balls& strikes calling.

      Robot Umpires NOW

  12. louhudson23 - Apr 5, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    Play ball!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. delsj - Apr 5, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    What a diva! He should start referring to himself in the third person. Joey’s getting upset! Joey doesn’t like umpires, umpires and Joey kinda clash!

  14. yousuxxors - Apr 5, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    maybe other stars will come out forcing the mlb to do something about it instead of just sitting idle.

  15. jaysjunkie - Apr 5, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    Not a smart move on Jose’s part, even if he is frustrated. I love watching Jose play and while I think there’s a lot of crappy umps out there, his constant bitching about calls is the one part of his game that’s an ongoing concern.

  16. crackersnap - Apr 5, 2013 at 10:48 PM

    Some day, in the far distant future, robots shall finally rule the strike zone. And Jose Bautista, reflecting from his rocker, shall consider himself the luckiest man alive that he garnered so much success, adulation, and income avoiding the great difficulties of the called high strike and the indignity of robots defining this particular level of his “mediocrity”.

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