* Jose Bautista says he plans on staying with the Blue Jays for the duration of his contract but a number of other great players have moved on during the 20-year post-season drought -- soon to be 21 in a row. .... 2014 Canadians in the Minors … Canadians drafted … Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent
By Bob Elliott
Eventually it was time for Shawn Green.
Time to move on to the greener, post-season pastures.
All three were great Blue Jays players who moved on for the chance to win.
Delgado left as a free agent, while Green and Halladay were dealt after saying they would not sign a contract extensions.
All wanted the chance to win. And all three reached post-season play.
And two-time home run champion Jose Bautista, the most difficult out in the American League this season?
“I’m not going anywhere until the end of my contract,” said Bautista Monday night before the Jays hosted the Boston Red Sox in the opener of a three-game series. He will be paid $14 million US in 2015 and 2016.
Nolan Reimold struck out with two men on in the bottom of the 10th on Sunday after misplaying a fly ball in right which led to the game winner in a 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. Reimold entered the game after Bautista was ejected in the sixth inning by plate umpire Bill Welke.
After Reimold struck out to end the game, manager John Gibbons and Bautista met down the hall from the clubhouse in the manager’s office.
“He gave me his take on it,” said Bautista on Monday.
Then, Gibbons was off to his media briefing where the manager, who seldom knocks players to the media said: “Bottom line, we need him in the game. Say your piece, get the hell out of there. We’re trying to get into the playoffs. We need you on the field.”
Bautista had problems with umpires three years ago, as did Yunel Escobar and Brett Lawrie, but the right fielder had not been complaining this year. He had gone past the point of no return when he was tossed in such an important game, as slim as the Jays hopes are (2.7%, heading into Monday’s game, according to Baseball Prospectus). He was ejected once last season on June 9 for arguing a Gary Darling strike call.
“I read what the manager said, and I understand his frustrations,” Bautista told reporters at his locker. “And I had the same frustrations. I didn’t want to get ejected. But it happened.”
How can he argue with his team in such a close game when he was needed, Bautista was asked?
“I didn’t argue, I feel what I said did not warrant getting ejected,” Bautista, told reporters, admitting he was well aware of the importance of the game. “But I did get ejected. And I don’t have anybody else to blame for it, that’s my fault.
“But I also wanted to say what I wanted to say. I didn’t raise my voice. I didn’t show up the umpire. I didn’t cuss. I was polite. And I don’t think when you do that in a polite matter you should be ejected.”
The old line about baseball opinions: it doesn’t matter if the hitter, his manager or 50,000 fans think a pitch is a ball ... the guy behind the plate with the clicker has the only opinion that matters.
Bautista said he realizes no one can “ever win” a discussion with an umpire.
“That doesn’t mean you’ve got to keep your mouth shut,” he said. “Especially if you’re being polite, not raising your voice, not using curse words. I didn’t know there was a gag order in baseball. If that rule was put out, I haven’t got the memo yet.”
There is a school of thought that Bautista is upset that the Jays failed to improve at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline and this ejection was part of a deep master conspiracy plan to get out of Dodge.
“I know my motives. I know things that I do and why I do them,” said Bautista, who leads the AL with a .399 on-base mark. “And what makes me a good player. And what makes me tick, and why I come out every day and what my purpose is. If people want to believe that’s part ulterior motive, obviously they’re entitled to their opinion but I obviously don’t agree with them.”
Bautista said it was not his job to perform and “on top of that convince the world that I’m a good person or that I have good intentions within my team,”
“My job is to come here, play hard and try my best, I think I do that every single day. If some people believe that I’m selfish or have reasons or motives to do anything while I’m out on the field, that’s their opinion. I shouldn’t have to campaign against that to get people on my side. I should go out and play hard every day and try to help my team win.”
Bautista said he is “fully committed to winning,” and he said the same goes for general manager Alex Anthopoulos.
And Rogers Communications?
“I don’t have enough information to answer that,” he said.
And the one they called selfish for being ejected came up representing the tying run with one out in the bottom of the ninth. Did Bautista swing for the fences trying to be a Monday night hero? He took four stright pitches and headed to first loading the bases. Then, Bautista took out Brock Holt at second breaking up a game-ending double play as one run scored.
Bautista was wrong on Sunday for arguing/discussing/debating to the point where he was ejected.
Yet he was right that Aug. 1 night in Houston when he said he was disappointed that the Jays had not improved the club at the deadline.