It’s going to be interesting to see how Canadians react to the Toronto Blue Jays’ best player criticizing the national team.
Last night, during a World Baseball Classic first round game between Canada and Mexico, a bench clearing brawl broke out after Mexican pitcher Arnold Leon beaned Canadian hitter Rene Tosoni after the previous hitter bunted for a hit with a six-run lead.
There’s an unwritten rule in the baseball culture that states that players shouldn’t bunt when their team has a huge lead because it’s seen as an attempt to run up the score, but in the WBC every run counts so teams try to score as many as possible to aid in advancing to the next round. Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, who has emerged in the last three years as one of the games best sluggers, doesn’t see it as an excuse
.“I’m not buying the fact that teams are bunting when they’re up by six because of the rules of the WBC,” Bautista told reporters Sunday morning.
“I believe in the unwritten rules of the game. They should be respected. It’s a code amongst players and everybody who plays baseball at a level higher than Little League knows what it is and there’s no excuse.”
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons doesn’t agree with his slugger though.
“The run-differential matters,” he said. “Everybody knows that, so it shouldn’t really surprise anybody. If that determines whether you move on or not I’m sure the other side would have probably done the same thing, I would think.”
Bautista, who was banned from playing for the Dominican Republic by the Blue Jays because he is coming a season-ending wrist injury, did admit that things like this happen when players are representing their countries because there’s alot of pride involved.
“It is competitive and there’s a lot more on the line than just personal success,” he said. “You’re playing for your country and it’s a short tournament and people play with a lot of passion so emotions are high. That sort of stuff can happen.”
I hear where Bautista is coming from, baseball players hold their unwritten rules on an almost sacred platform, but the rules are different in the WBC and teams reserve the right to do whatever it takes within the constructs of those rules to go as far as possible.