Craig Calcaterra

Jose Bautista Blue Jays

Jose Bautista does not need to “calm that down” and “respect the game”

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Rangers reliever Sam Dyson is pretty good. Had a nice year (154 ERA+ in 75 appearances). He likely has a good future working out of bullpens around the league and, as far as any of us know, is a hell of a guy. Maybe a husband. Maybe a father. Good neighbor. Loyal lodge member. Let’s just grant him all of that and more, what with us really not knowing much about him.

Let us also say this about him: last night he was a big whiny baby who could have stood to take a few moments to gather himself and contemplate his shortcomings and general place in the world before spouting off.

You know what happened by now. Bedlam in Toronto following the crazy Russell Martin Shin-Soo Choo interference play. Fans going way over the line into Looneyville, throwing beer cans and the like. Amped up emotions for everyone in Rogers Centre, players included. And then, in the bottom of the seventh, a comeback capped by Dyson serving up a monstrous homer to Jose Bautista that, had it not been for the fine engineers and construction workers who built Rogers Centre, woulda blown the goddamn roof off the place.

Oh, and this:

Jose Bautista Blue Jays

This was A Moment. Actually, this was not just a moment, it was an iconic moment in baseball history, or at the very least soon will be. This was one of the game’s premier sluggers experiencing perhaps his greatest triumph, having shocked his team and nearly 50,000 screaming Blue Jays fans out of the confused funk into which they fell a half inning before, snapped them into an exuberant frenzy and carried them to the next round of the playoffs.

Sam Dyson, however, was not as impressed. He found this to be a good time for an etiquette lecture:

“Jose needs to calm that down, just kind of respect the game a little more. He’s a huge role model for the younger generation that’s coming up playing this game, and I mean he’s doing stuff that kids do in Wiffle ball games and backyard baseball. It shouldn’t be done.”

What a bunch of condescending, patronizing paternalistic nonsense. Who in THE HELL is Sam Dyson to tell Jose Bautista what he “needs” to do? What has Sam Dyson — for as wonderful a person as he may be — ever done or known to give him the right to tell a twelve-year veteran, six-time all-star, team leader and national icon — to two or three nations at this point — what should or shouldn’t be done? And even if he does have any standing whatsoever to lecture Bautista, which he sure as hell does not, how dare he offer up that most mindless, loaded of cliches: “respect the game?”

Bautista did not choreograph some elaborate touchdown dance here. He did not set out to insult the manliness or integrity of Sam Dyson or the Texas Rangers. He had just hit the second biggest home run in Toronto Blue Jays history and, for anyone younger than, say, 25, the biggest in living memory. Most definitely the biggest moment of his professional life. If you are the sort of person who thinks that such a thing cannot be celebrated, you should just give up trying to find happiness in life, consult an actuary about exactly how much time you have left until you die and optimize your investments accordingly. And please, as you do so, be sure your door is closed and your curtains are drawn because the very sight of such a joyless figure as yourself will bring the rest of humanity down.

Pressure + Triumph = Exuberance. If you find that equation troublesome or the concept behind it difficult to grok, you have challenges far beyond trying to get major league hitters out. If you think that some Kafkaesque, self-contradictory, thought and emotion-policing set of “game-respecting” rituals take precedence over it, you’re missing the very point of sports, entertainment and, maybe, even the concept of joy itself.

If such a set of beliefs is required for you to Respect The Game, find a different game. The rest of us will be over here marveling at one of the most exciting baseball moments we’ve ever experienced.

It could be happening! Larry Bowa goes for a second interview with the Marlins

Larry Bowa
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The worst thing about the Marlins isn’t that they were bad and undershot most analysts’ expectations this season. The worst this is that they were pretty darn boring doing it.

They replaced their manager with a no-experience guy and he . . . generally managed them at the same level as anyone else would’ve. No craziness. No notable episodes of incompetence. No apparent clubhouse strife. It was all so . . . unremarkable. So this pleases me to no end:

 

Bowa, the Phillies’ bench coach, managed the Padres in 1987 and 1988 and managed the Phillies from 2001 into the 2004 season. He’s coached lots of places. Competence certainly won’t be his issue — he knows more about baseball than all of us yahoos combined and has done just about everything in the game — but he certainly could bring some color to Miami. He tends to get into it with younger players or the press or someone eventually, and I imagine an environment like Miami will eventually push some of his buttons. And then we get . . . entertainment.

But will the Marlins get some wins? Possibly. Injuries weren’t their only problem this season, but they certainly had an impact. There is still a talented core in Miami and they should, reasonably, expect to be better next year even if they don’t make too much noise this offseason. That’s the hope anyway.

And no matter what they do in the win-loss column, Bowa, if he is hired, should at least make it more interesting.

Curt Schilling is still Curt Schilling-ing

Curt Schilling
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You’d think a guy who got smacked down by his employer for making controversial and politically-charged tweets on social media would cool it on social media for a while. But it’s Curt Schilling here, and no one is gonna tell Curt Schilling what to do.

During last night’s Democratic debate, Donald Tump was live-Tweeting the proceedings because, hey, this is where we are in 2015. He did an OK job of live-Tweeting, actually, adding to my suspicion that he’s really just acting like a psychopath in the campaign for the yuks and, in reality, is going to be quite content to go back to being just a moderately loudmouthed BusinessTainment person soon. Time will tell.

At one point, Trump asked for people’s opinion about who was winning the debate. Hillary? Bernie? Webb? Those other two dudes who, God love ’em, ain’t gonna be around come February? Schilling weighed in:

 

Per that stuff about the anti-Chase Utley signs at Citi Field yesterday, I’m going to rule that this, likewise, is in the realm of actually somewhat darkly funny comedy. Sure, the person with the signs didn’t actually believe that Utley supports ISIS and Schilling probably believes what he’s saying here, but that’s not a big deal. The net effect of it all is a laugh, so that distinction is not really important.

But one does wonder how ESPN feels about Schilling continuing to beat his drum like this. And, for that matter, whether Schilling doing so is itself a way of challenging them to do something about him like, say, making him some sort of free speech martyr who will command handsome speaking fees at the sorts of meetups where people who think your employer being displeased at you for something you say is an actual violation of your First Amendment rights.

For now, though, ESPN is not commenting. They’re probably too busy moving the “Jessica Mendoza: Sunday Night Baseball” graphics from the “temporary” directory to the “permanent” directory.