MLB Week in Review (May 12-18)

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Those unwritten rules of baseball are back in the spotlight this week as the MLB has once again seen the debate rise.

That is largely due to the fact that the team and the person at the middle of the newest celebration controversy is the same as the last big one.

Oddly enough it has also happened almost exactly a year to the last time that this player and this team was in the middle of a celebration controversy that brought up those unwritten rules.

Last year the Toronto Blue Jays were in Texas for their last series against the Rangers in what was brewing a real rivalry after the 2015 postseason ended with a wild game in Toronto that included the bat flips to end all bat flips by Jose Bautista.

The Rangers and the Blue Jays started a pretty heated rivalry and Texas waited until the final game in the final innings to exact their revenge against Jose Bautista for the bat flip.

They hit Bautista in his final at bat against the Rangers that year and then on the next hit Bautista slide hard into second.

Rougned Odor took offence to the slide and punched Bautista leading to a bench-clearing brawl.

The Blue Jays and Bautista gained a reputation after that brawl and for the level of intensity, some would say cockiness that they constantly play with.

The Atlanta Braves were the latest team to take exception to their style of play during a bit of a tough series for the Jays.

After a really bad April, the Jays were just beginning to climb back beginning May with a five-game win streak that was bringing them back to .500.

They then ran into the Braves who themselves were not having a great year and the Blue Jays began to struggle again.

Their rebound was shut down looking entirely outmatched in almost every game and with a team like Toronto, the frustration began building.

When the series moved to Atlanta for the third game the frustration seemed to boil over for the Jays in another game where they couldn’t get anything going.

The biggest issue in the game for the Braves was the lack of control of the Toronto pitchers who hit seven Atlanta batters over three games.

There is no indication of whether or not there was intent behind any but it also seems like a lot of batters to be hit over three games.

In the third game, the seventh hit batter was the star of the Braves, Freddie Freeman who left the game when he was hit in the hands.

It looked like a bad injury, and it turned out to be a bad injury when it was announced a day later that Freeman would miss 10 weeks with a hand injury.baseball-sidebar

With tempers running high Kevin Pillar took exception to a quick pitch yelling at Jason Motte and clearing the benches.

Then Bautista stepped up to the plate and like he does when the intensity ramps up he hit a home run.

Then he bat flipped again staring down the home run rubbing the Braves the wrong way again and leading to another bench clearing.

For a second year, Bautista was at the centre of a controversial moment and he is gaining a massive reputation for being the most hated man in baseball.

The latest bench clearing was slightly different though as it wasn’t the same intensity from Bautista that set both benches off.

The bat flip was certainly a spark but when Bautista circles the bases he begins talking to Kurt Suzuki in what looks like a fairly easy going conversation.

It even looks like Bautista apologises and takes ownership of the unnecessary bat flip with both players clearly not getting heated.

Then the umpire jumps in between them like they are fighting and immediately the benches cleared most likely because they thought something was going on between the two players.

Bautista took ownership of the bat flip after the game saying that he let the emotions of the game get the best of him and that he should never have thrown the bat.

Nobody will pay attention to that side of the story though and nobody seems to care what occurred between Suzuki and Bautista.

It is nobody’s fault but Bautista though as he has built that reputation of being the player that every loves to hate.

He plays with that emotion and in baseball emotion is not allowed, unless of course, it is for the team you cheer for.

As a result, the baseball world turns against him and anything he is involved with becomes another knock against him.

That is what happens when you play on that edge and as good as it can be for the Jays it is also a way to build a reputation where no favours are done to the team.

 

Extra Innings

Pillar’s Suspension

Kevin Pillar has been having a great season with the Jays but things went sour in an intense game and with Pillar struggling. After a quick pitch by Jason Motte Pillar yelled at the pitcher with benches clearing for the first time in the game. The bigger issue was what Pillar said in that exchange throwing a homophobic slur towards Motte. Pillar apologised twice and the Jays suspended him for two games as a fan favourite may have hurt his cause with fans everywhere.

Honouring Jeter

  This week marked a big celebration for the New York Yankees as they retired the number of one of the greatest Yankees ever. Derek Jeter was simply known as the captain, a high honour for a franchise with some of the greatest players in MLB history. His number was retired only two years after he retired making the Yankees the only team with every single digit number retired.

One of the Greats

Joe Maddon will go down as one of the best managers in baseball along with one of the most unorthodox. He helped bring the Rays to relevance with less talent than most teams and helped the Cubs to the World Series breaking the longest drought in sports. Now he will have a number to add to his accomplishments earning his 1,000th career win and he celebrated in the most Maddon way possible, with a glass of wine at the press conference.

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