Tag Archives: Jose Bautista

Fans Impact The Royals Playoff Run

The Kansas City Royals are up two games to none on the Toronto Blue Jays in the ALCS. As one of the rabid fans of this Royals club, I like to think that the fans have had a big impact on the playoff run up to this point. Some of this impact is obvious and reported on, while other impacts have been hidden.

If you want to see the physical on field impact that the Royals fans have had on this series, look no further than the Jays right fielder Jose Bautista. The battle of Bautista versus Royals fans has been ongoing since the Royals took on the Jays in Toronto back in August. Bautista was in the middle of many multiple bench clearings and stare downs as the Jays and Royals had one of the most hostile series of the year. He even took to Twitter to proclaim he no longer respected Royals manager Ned Yost. While Bautista has become one of the most arrogant and unlikeable players in the game with his on field antics and off the field Twitter rants; he is especially despised by Royals fans. We will have our team’s backs, and we’ve shown that so far in this series.

After striking out early in game one, Bautista was visibly whining and pouting in the Jays dugout. The fans of KC jumped on this, as videos and memes of Bautista in the dugout went viral. Inside the stadium fans booed him with a furry that only the likes of Robinson Cano and Brett Lawrie have heard. They cheered when he took strikes and booed his whole trip to first base when he walked. After catching a fly ball for the third out late in the game, Bautista faked like he was going to throw the ball to the crowd proving that the crowd had gotten inside his head. The Royals went on to win that game 5-0.

In the second game fans had an even bigger impact on Bautista and the Jays as they blew a 3-0 lead in the seventh inning. Bautista had another bad day at the plate, again whining and pouting after being rung up by the home plate umpire. After that at bat to finish the sixth inning, Bautista taunted Royals fans behind the dugout and in the outfield but showing 3-0 with his hands. It was just a few pitches later that Ben Zobrist hit a high pop fly into shallow right field. Bautista came in as second basemen Ryan Goins went out to attempt the catch. Bautista slowed first as Goins called him off, then at the last second Goins backed away allowing the ball to fall to the ground. Goins said after the game he heard someone yell “I got it”. He didn’t hear someone, he heard 40,000 people inside the K saying it as the noise was a factor. The Royals went on to score five runs that inning, Bautista made no further gestures to the crowd. After the game Goins took responsibility for the play as Bautista threw his teammate under the bus saying the video will show what happened.

Luckily for Bautista and his teammates, they get away from KC for a few days as the series heads to Toronto for the next three games. But that will only protect the Jays from the physical help of Royals fans. No amount of distance will protect them from Royals superstition. Now that you’re done rolling your eyes, hear me out. We are all superstitious when it comes to sports. We all have that favorite shirt, spot on the couch or pre-game ritual. Even Yost has superstitions as he bats Alcides Escobar lead off for no reason other than “we win when he leads off”. Nobody, not even Yost, believes that the sole reason for the Royals winning games is because Escobar bats leadoff. But at the same time, if it works, who am I to argue with the logic?

The same goes for fans. Case in point, the lucky nachos of section 405. Now this goes back to ALDS game five against the Astros. With the Royals trailing 2-0 in the fourth inning when a Royals fan tripped and dropped a plate of nachos onto the stairs in section 405. It was only seconds later that Eric Hosmer roped a single scoring Lorenzo Cain. Someone in the crowd said “don’t touch the nachos, they must be lucky”. Johnny Cueto retired every batter he faced after the nachos were spilled and the Royals scored six more runs. The fans protected the nachos, asking fans to step around them, even taking the broom from the employee paid to clean them up. The nachos were cleaned up in the eighth inning but that didn’t stop the fans in section 405 as they chipped in and bought a new plate of nachos, sitting them in the same spot as a sacrifice to the baseball gods.

Did those nachos have any effect on Hosmer hitting that ball or Cueto pitching his best game of the season; no. Does the fact that my mom has worn the same Royals jersey the day of games since the playoffs started affect how the team plays; no it doesn’t. My wife loves telling me that where I sit, what my kids wear, or what I’m eating has no effect on the outcome of games. As with most things in life, my wife is right. But while she makes logical sense, it’s also hard to argue with results. I’ve always said when it comes to superstitions, what does it hurt? When the Royals come home again we will be the tenth man on the field and do our best to throw the visiting team off their game. But we will also be doing our best to follow Yost lead and do what works, even if it doesn’t make any sense. So protect those nachos, wear that lucky shirt and create whatever seating chart you need. While there is no proof that the crazy things we do help, there is also no proof that it doesn’t!

More Than A Friday: Thinking of Lamar Odom During a Busy Week in Sports

Lamar Odom is going to die. We sincerely hope it doesn’t happen today, tomorrow, next week, next month, or even in the next year. For Odom, there is a reality, and doesn’t that word really have some negative connotation to it? The reality is, that I hope he is able to survive from the time between now and whenever this publishes, but only for a life that doesn’t involve suffering.

Why do I care about the mortality of Lamar Odom? As former Arizona Cardinal Darnell Dockett so bluntly stated, he didn’t cross my mind before he was trending, so to speak. I don’t mourn for his situation with a Lakers or Heat flag on my car, and I’m not sympathetic to the character he was presented as to the masses on a show I didn’t watch. I know who he is, because of basketball, and I know how much he loved being a Laker, through the words of his ex-wife during a very brief glimpse of that show that I swear I didn’t watch. I’m sympathetic to his situation, because he is very obviously in the public eye, and it feels like he’s slowly dying in front of all of us.

I don’t feel that he deserves that. He deserves our compassion, but to suffer, with all of those toxins eating away at the very life he’s lived for the past 35 years, 11 months, and change; no one has earned that fate. Everyone in the media seems to be acting appropriately sensitive, walking on egg shells and citing his difficult background, while commending his wildly successful life and hoping for the best. We’re all human enough for that; we should be well wishing Odom for a prolonged life or a merciful death, though most of us don’t know the answers. While we brace ourselves for the inevitable assassination of his character from a few directions, and for various reasons, this is a time to be above the noise and just care.

In Major League Baseball

If you lack a dog in this fight, it’s been an awesome week of watching the field dwindle itself from 8 down to 4. If you had rooting interest in the Division Series, half of you are elated and half of you ain’t.

The Chicago Cubs were the first ones in the clubhouse, waiting to see what the rest of semi-final field would be. They had to win that winner-take-all game, which is always dangerous. It meant burning their best arm, leaving one Jake Arrieta available for just one start in the subsequent best-of-5 series. To survive that do-or-die game in Pittsburgh, it meant taking on baseball’s best regular season team and a long-time arch-rival in what’s been a very lopsided pairing for a very long time.

Give it to the Cubs, for not letting history get the best of them. They were able to bounce back after a poor showing in St. Louis in Game 1, a game that had you thinking the Cubs didn’t have the ammunition to survive the almighty Cardinals, beaten and battered as Mike Matheny’s squad may have been. Lo and behold, they kept hitting the ball out of the park, and when the Cardinals pecked away at a Chicago lead, the Cubs scratched back.

We’ll say good-bye to the Cardinals, and point out that they’re just another great National League team that managed to win at least 100 regular season games on a long list of triple-digit winning National League teams that have failed to win the World Series since the Mets won it all in ’86. The 2015 chapter of the Mets are a little different; they’re not supposed to be here. Blame the Washington Nationals for that, but maybe credit these young Metropolitans for being too dumb to know the stage is too big for them or that they’re not ready yet.

For a while, we’ve known the National League’s chapter of New York baseball was acquiring too much talent to be kept down for long. Remember when Matt Harvey was pretty much the chosen one there? Those days are long gone, with the flowing locks of Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard making the Dark Knight (and the Yankees) an afterthought in Gotham. You’ve got Yoenis Cespedes and David Wright earning the headlines for Terry Collins’ team, but it was the efforts of the likes of Michael Conforto and Daniel Murphy that put them in the place they needed to be to host the Cubs on Saturday in Game 1 of the NLCS.

As for the Dodgers, the brilliance of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke for two games apiece wasn’t enough. Chase Utley taking out Ruben Tejada on a questionable double-play breaking slide wasn’t enough. Justin Turner’s .526 batting average wasn’t enough, nor was any other aspect of the roughly $310 million payroll enough to get three wins against these Mets in a best-of-five series. If you’re into math, they were paying about $77 million, per team that advance farther than them in the 2015 Playoffs.

It’s probably not the best of ideas to reduce a best-of-five that goes the distance down to a single inning of an elimination game, but that’s how we’re going to roll with the American League Division Series. The conversation of the day on Wednesday, at around 2:30 PM (Mountain Standard Time) was about whether or not the Astros could rebound from their 8th inning collapse, a few days prior, against the defending AL Champs at home. And maybe the Royals had something to do with that as well, but you had to hold the phone on making Game 5 of Astros-Royals into headline material. Down 6-2 in the eighth inning, on the road, six outs from elimination, the Royals put together one of those innings. They got some bounces and scored enough runs(5) to survive(a 7-6 victory), but needed another win to advance. That was Monday.

Before the Royals could do what they needed to do, back at home on Wednesday evening, there was the issue of settling the other half of the bracket with Game 5 in Toronto. Fast forward to the 7th inning of that one, game tied at 2, with Rougned Odor on 3rd base and Shin-Soo Choo at the plate. On a Russell Martin throw back to Blue Jays’ reliever Aaron Sanchez, the ball hits Choo’s bat and squirts toward the third baseman. Odor scores on the “throwing error”, and all hell breaks loose in Toronto. After a review, the Rangers lead 3-2 and they were 9 outs from another trip to the ALCS. Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus wasn’t prepared to help the cause.

It started with a routine ground ball to short, which he mishandled. Then, there was a double play ball, and well, the ball was thrown poorly by Mitch Moreland at first base, and Andrus couldn’t haul it in. Next batter, it’s a sacrifice bunt not executed well, where a good throw to third should eliminate the lead runner, but Andrus can’t handle it. Bases loaded.

Toronto tied the game on a ball that should be described as a Texas Leaguer, and could have invoked the Infield Fly Rule, floats beyond the reach of the Texas second baseman. It ends up being a fielder’s choice at 2nd base, but the tying run scores. Tie game, runners at first and third for Jose Bautista.

What he did was hit the ball, so far that metaphors would be ineffective for those that don’t know much about Canadian geography. It was a three-run job, giving the home team a 6-3 lead that would stick. After he hit it, he tossed his bat about eight feet in the air, and (we assume) it traveled for kilometers before it reached the ground, well after he’d run the bases.

Blue Jays win, and they’re back in the ALCS, for the first time since 1993. That was the year Joe Carter hit baseball’s second (and most recent) World Series clinching walk-off home run. In a lot of ways, regardless of what happens to the Blue Jays the rest of the way, this Bautista shot may have been a bigger deal.

1908, 1985, 1986, 1993. The last time the Cubs, Royals, Mets, and Blue Jays have won it all, respectively. We’re going to get someone new, while the Giants, Red Sox, Cardinals, and Yankees watch from the couch…and I that’s just fine by me.

In Football

Ohio State is going to stay #1 until they lose. It’s just the way it is. I look forward to them playing Penn State under the lights in Columbus, but I’m not looking forward to seeing them wearing all black, for the sake of wearing all black.

Texas A&M will host Alabama, and the Aggies have a legitimate shot to win that game and establish themselves as a legitimate player in the College Football Playoff talk, while Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan Wolverines host in-state rival Michigan State with a good chance to finally allow some points and to likely get handed their second loss of the season.

Florida will travel to Baton Rouge for a night game with LSU on Saturday. They will be without their starting quarterback, while South Carolina hosts Vanderbilt and USC travels to Notre Dame, both without their head coaches. You might expect an 0-3 run from that group with those voids.

On Sunday, expect plenty of blood in the water, in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Indianapolis. Bruce Arians didn’t even take the Cardinals back home last week, after thumping Detroit; you can be sure he wants to get his pound of flesh from Mike Tomlin and company, after they kicked him to the curb a few years back. TJ Ward said he wanted to remain with the Browns (and presumably his best friend, Joe Haden) two year ago, but Cleveland wasn’t interested, so he’ll surely be interested in ringing some bells with his Broncos visiting the 2-3 Browns. Finally, they say snitches end up with stitches, so go ahead and find your own shitty air/inflation-related pun to describe what Tom Brady and the Patriots might do to the Colts on Sunday night.

In the National Hockey League

Call it a Stanley Cup Hangover, or call it the distraction of one of your top players being accused of sexual assault, but the Chicago Blackhawks have looked anything but Champions…so far.

It’s obviously early, but we haven’t seen an immediate impact from Mike Babcock joining the Maple Leafs or Connor McDavid joining the Oilers. Both will happen in due time.

The Arizona Coyotes are basically left for dead by anyone who knows anything about this game, but they’re off to a promising start under Dave Tippett in Glendale. Rookies Anthony DuClair and Max Domi look like they have something special budding in the desert, making major contributions to the ‘Yotes 3-1 start.

You See a PED Cheat. I See a Gigantic Loophole.

If you’re mad at individual players for using PEDs, you’re missing the point and misplacing your anger. Focus on the penalty, or lack thereof, not the perpetrators.
Even on the off chance a guy gets caught, he only has to serve an 80-game suspension. And if he’s dumb enough to get caught twice he gets slapped with a season-long ban. That’s a 162 game, summer-long break that could actually rejuvenate a baseball player during a strenuous career.

[RELATED: You See Nelson Cruz, 20+ HR Guy. I See a PED Cheat. ~ From Matt Kline]

It really is, “3 Strikes and you’re out,” according Major League Baseball’s Performance Enhancing Drug Policy. Now to be clear, the Major League Baseball Players Association also helped shape these rules for repercussions, agreeing to them in a joint effort with MLB. A lifetime ban from the game is the result of being caught thrice. I think that’s one too many chances.

As Dunder Mifflin Regional Manager Michael Scott once mistakenly said, “You know what they say: fool me once, strike one. Fool me twice… strike three.” That’s obviously not the way the old cliché goes, but I think it’s appropriate in these cases.

There’s a difference between Ryan Braun, who lied about not taking PEDs yet ended up testing positive again later, and the other guys who have tested positive and served the suspension that was handed to them. Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon, Jhonny Peralta and many others have all served their time and since come back to slightly decreased numbers, but still solid Big League production.

You can’t blame these ultracompetitive guys for taking something they think might give them the extra edge they think they need. On more occasions than not (at least according to the players), the banned substances are hidden in seemingly normal supplements that they try out. And you can’t fully understand how confusing proper supplement taking can be unless you’ve recently looked at the ingredients on the bottles in GNC.

Home run totals are down anyway.

Barring crazy breakout seasons from Chris Davis last year and Jose Bautista in 2010, nobody has hit 50+ dingers since Prince Fielder and twice caught PED-user Alex Rodriguez did it back in 2007.

I’m sure a lot fewer guys are using PEDs and not being found out too. Just think how many sluggers of the 90s were never caught. Plenty of guys were successful yet overshadowed by the spectacle of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa going head-to-head with each other repeatedly while they played in the same division.
You honestly think anyone who really cares doesn’t already know who’s tested positive for PEDs? I certainly hope each and every GM in MLB would know something so important when making a decision on a player.

Singling players out in the field is silly. And in a city like Detroit where our team has maintained a consistent classic look for decades, the proposition of sewing on distracting extra letters to individual players would be considered more a defilement of art than any sort of justice. Of course, you’ll needlessly embarrass countless fathers who take their curious youngsters out to the ballparks but can’t field their questions about the strange letters only one or two players have all over them.

Again, the real issue is with the penalization, not the players. If you want to punish the guilty players, that’s fine. I’m all for that, but let’s do it in the right way. Kick them out immediately after they are proven cheaters. If they weren’t worthy of a second chance, why give them a third?

Fixing the MLB All-Star Home Run Derby

by Ryan Isley

As Monday evening came along, I turned on ESPN just in time to hear Chris Berman’s voice announcing the start of the Major League Baseball All-Star Home Run Derby. Immediately, I tuned it out.

As the evening wore on and I found myself actually enjoying the celebrity softball game more than the Home Run Derby, I decided that we needed a change in how All-Star Monday is handled – especially the Home Run Derby.

The first change?  Berman would never be back (back, back, back). Not only has he grown to agitate almost everyone I have spoken with, but his references are older than the players he is using them to describe.

I actually enjoy John Kruk and Nomar Garciaparra on the set, so they would stay. Replacing Berman? That would be the highly underrated Joe Tessitore, as I think Tessitore is the one of the best announcers that is employed by ESPN and is versatile enough to handle the Home Run Derby.

Continue reading Fixing the MLB All-Star Home Run Derby

The Blue Jays are Coming

If I woke up this morning a fan of the Toronto Blue Jays, or found myself working in their front office, I think I would be rather pleased at the roster that had been assembled. There is a bona-fide star or possible up and comer at nearly every position and the farm system is brimming with talent that could be utilized to work a deal once the season began.  It’d be a fine five minutes, and then I’d remember that my team was still in the AL East, and likely would spend 2012 looking up at the Tampa Bay Rays, New York Yankees, and Boston Redsox.
 
It’s a terrible fate to be in a division that is so loaded with talent, brains, and money.  Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopolous has done a fine job with rebuilding the Blue Jays in to a competitive team through trades and free agent acquisitions. His biggest move to date was to send Roy Halladay to the Philadelphia Phillies, which in the end netted him the highly regarded prospects Travis D’Arnaud, Anthony Gose, and Kyle Drabek.  Continue reading The Blue Jays are Coming