For Pete's Sake

Braves pitcher roasts Toronto’s Jose Bautista after his bat flip empties benches

Toronto Blue’s Jose Bautista exchanged words with Atlanta Braves catcher Kurt Suzuki after hitting a home run during Wednesday’s game.
Toronto Blue’s Jose Bautista exchanged words with Atlanta Braves catcher Kurt Suzuki after hitting a home run during Wednesday’s game. The Associated Press

Did you realize that Monday was the one-year anniversary of the punch heard around the world?* Yep, Texas’ Rougned Odor slugged Toronto’s Jose Bautista in the face during a game on May 15, 2016.

*Yeah, around the world. I heard about it while in Germany

Last off-season, Bautista re-signed with the Blue Jays after apparently finding little interest in the free-agent market. In fact, one team said it wouldn’t sign Bautista because fans didn’t like him. Royals fans know about that because he punked them during the 2015 American League Championship Series.

Well, Bautista is still doing unlikeable things.

On Wednesday night, things got heated between the Blue Jays and Braves. It began when Toronto’s Kevin Pillar was not happy because he was quick-pitched by the Braves’ Jason Motte in the seventh inning, the Associated Press reported. Benches emptied briefly.

The next inning, Bautista came to the plate with the Braves ahead 8-3 and hit a long home run against Atlanta’s Eric O’Flaherty. Bautista stared down O’Flaherty, then flipped his bat.

The Braves’ Jace Peterson said something to Bautista at first base, and catcher Kurt Suzuki also had words for Bautista when he reached home. The benches emptied, but there were no fisticuffs.

However, O’Flaherty landed a verbal haymaker after the game.

“It’s turned into look-at-me stuff. It’s not even about winning anymore,” O’Flaherty said of Bautista’s theatrics. “Guy hits a home run in a five-run game. Pimp it, throw the bat around. It’s frustrating as a pitcher. I didn’t see it at the time. I saw the video. He looked at me, tried to make eye contact. It’s just tired. We’ve seen it from him enough.”

Then came the money quote from O’Flaherty: “I’m surprised he’s ready to fight after last year ...”

Bautista defended the bat flip after the game.

“I think it’s part of the game, the emotion,” Bautista told the Blue Jays team website. “Sometimes it’s fitting in the game. Sometimes it’s not. Just like people celebrate after defensive plays and big strikeouts, I think it’s part of the game and we’re all getting used to it.”

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

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