Add Mike Schmidt to the chorus of old school players who didn’t like Jose Bautista‘s bat flip in the playoff’s last year. Today he wrote his own first person story for the Associated Press talking about the blatant disrespect Jose Bautista allegedly showed for the game and his opposition when he hit his big homer in last year’s playoffs:
Why do so many players today feel the need to embellish their success with some sort of hand signal to the dugout? What got more attention in last year’s post-season than a bat toss by Jose Bautista? Pointing to the sky is child’s play compared to that moment in the post-season on national TV. A flagrant disrespect of the opponent like that would have gotten somebody hurt back in the day.
He goes on to say that “Bautista crossed the line.” In other news, here’s Mike Schmidt’s 500th home run.
Watch the slow motion replay near the end in which Schmidt dances. The color man also notes that he jumped onto second base and posed as he rounded third.
Schmidt mentions that little dance in his column, calling it “a little running in place” thing. He says that’s the only time he ever did anything like that. I’ll take him at his word. And I’ll grant that I’d dance like that too if I was Mike Schmidt. In addition to it being a wonderful moment in his career, it came after the Phillies had surrendered a lead to the Pirates the half-inning before and put his club ahead in the ninth inning in a game they ended up winning. That’s a big deal! It came in April in a season the Phillies finished under .500 so it it wasn’t playoffs-big like Bautista’s home run was, but it was definitely the sort of thing one should be excited about. So yes, good for Schmidt. The man was already a legend in 1987 and he had earned the right to strut a bit.
But I’ll also note that Bautista doesn’t make a habit of bat tosses like the one from the playoffs either. Schmidt says it’s OK to do this once in a while if you hit a lot of homers and have earned the right, but I’ll further note that Bautista has hit a lot of home runs himself. Why Schmidt got to be occasionally exuberant like this while Bautista is slammed for it is an open question. I’m sure if he would’ve been given 500 more words by the AP he would’ve explained it better.