Brian Jones will admit it: He was rooting for the Texas Rangers. Still, he didn’t like Jose Bautista’s bat flip following a three-run homer that turned a 3-3 stalemate into a 6-3 Blue Jays win in Game 5 of the ALDS on Wednesday.
Passion is great, but flipping the bat as Bautista did – at least for Jones – was a bit over the top.
“Yeah, I’m with you,” former general manager and current MLB Network radio host Jim Duquette said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I am not a big fan of the major bat flips that we see. If it’s a walk-off, I get the walk-off. There’s nothing you can do about that. But we’re seeing it more and more and more. And what ends up happening, it almost becomes a clash of cultures, to some degree because you see this in winter ball a lot. It happens in the sixth, seventh inning. They’re used to it, they’re comfortable with it, and I’ve seen it. I’ve been down there plenty of times. It’s entertaining. And then you get some other old-school guys where they don’t like it. They’re more like that’s not acceptable. I don’t know where you draw the line in that sense. I really don’t. That’s the part of it that becomes a bigger issue for me. I actually think it’s going to get worse. It’s not going away. Do you embrace it? Do you say it’s part of the game? I do think it’s going to end up getting worse. You’re going to see more of those type of celebrations. I don’t know if it’s going to be bad or good for the game.”
But why would it bad for the game? What’s wrong with a little self-expression, especially for a league struggling to attract young fans?
Duquette sees the importance of the bat flip from an entertainment standpoint, but that’s about it.
“In football, you see the celebrations and the dances after a touchdown,” he said. “In hockey you’ll see guys jumping into the boards and fist-pumping after they score a goal. So why not allow a little of that in our sport if that’s what’s going on in today’s game? I’m okay with it overall. (Sam) Dyson, it comes off as you just got lit up so deal with it. But there are plenty of other people who say, ‘You know what? You’re showing me up. You’re showing up the other team. We’re not going to put up with it. We’re going to throw at you next time.’ That’s where it gets a little dangerous for me.”
In any event, the Blue Jays will face the Royals in the ALCS, while the Cubs are waiting for their NCLS opponent to be determined. The Mets play the Dodgers in Los Angeles in a decisive Game 5 on Thursday, with Jacob deGrom going against Zack Greinke.
“I really feel like the Mets are a better team overall,” Duquette said. “I feel like their offense is better. I feel like their pitching stacks up pretty close. But in the end, I could see this being a 3-2 game and you’re coming down to the bullpens late. I’m going to still pick the Mets because I’ve watched them all year, but I think this is one of those tight games that’s too tough to call.”