Blue Jays lose after Jose Bautista called out for slide interference

Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP
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The Blue Jays were threatening to erase the Rays’ 3-2 lead in the bottom of the ninth on Tuesday, but the game ended when Jose Bautista was called out for slide interference.

Facing Rays reliever Alex Colome, Ryan Goins led off the bottom of the ninth with an infield single and advanced to second with one out on a Josh Donaldson single to center. Bautista then drew a walk to load the bases, bringing up Edwin Encarnacion. Encarnacion hit a grounder to third baseman Evan Longoria, who tossed to Logan Forsythe at second base. Forsythe avoided Bautista, but Bautista reached out his hand at the last second and grabbed Forsythe’s foot, causing him to make a poor throw to first base.

Two runs scored on the play, but the Rays issued a challenge, suggesting Bautista deliberately interfered with Forsythe. The umpires agreed after reviewing the play, saying that he did interfere and didn’t make an attempt to stay on second base, per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi. Bautista was out at second and Encarnacion was out at first base, ending the game in a 3-2 Rays win.

Here’s video:

[mlbvideo id=”574646983″ width=”600″ height=”336″ /]

After the game, Bautista said that player safety should be of concern, but added, “I just don’t see how my play was unsafe,” Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times reports. More from Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times:

Jays manager John Gibbons made a comment that he will likely regret tomorrow. Per Topkin:

Needless to say, Gibbons’ statement is sexist and unacceptable in the year 2016.

Three days into the regular season, we’ve already had three controversial slide-related incidents. It will likely calm down as the season progresses and players get used to the ways they can and cannot slide according to the updated rules.

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

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PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.