Wednesday, July 6, 2022 Jul 6, 2022
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Sports

About That Rangers’ 7th-Inning Nightmare Against the Blue Jays

The bat flip is a litmus test revealing the fervor of your fandom.
By Jason Heid |
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Jose Bautista bat flip

That’s Jose Bautista celebrating the three-run homer off pitcher Sam Dyson that put the Toronto Blue Jays up for good in the epic seventh inning of yesterday’s Game 5 of the American League Division Series against the Texas Rangers. There are two appropriate, equally valid reactions to it.

This one:

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And this one:

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While all reasonable adults should agree that Dyson’s “won’t somebody think about the children?” reaction is a little much, his sentiment that Bautista was being a poor sport in showing him up by too effusively celebrating with that bat flip is understandable. (Dyson’s on-field tantrums during the game, which resulted in the benches clearing twice, were a little less so.)

Though I was rooting for Texas, my Rangers-non-fandom is reaffirmed by the fact that I am merely amazed, rather than heartbroken, by what transpired in yesterday’s game. And so I find myself more in the camp of those who believe baseball’s “unwritten rules” that frown upon admiring one’s own handiwork are silly. While I have no desire to see MLB become as ridiculous as the NFL (where even slight gains of yardage or blocks of an opponents forward progress result in peacocking), there shouldn’t be anything wrong with a player reacting as Bautista did during such a high-stakes, emotionally charged game.

On the other hand, I’m not going to hold it against the Rangers if Bautista is plunked by a pitch the next time the teams meet (next May).

I would plead with bandwagon fans, now that you’ve presumably jumped off the Rangers train to catch up with the Stars or Mavs (assuming you’ve already given up on the Cowboys), not to lose sight of what a remarkable season this has been for Texas.

No one was picking them to win the division this year. Their odds of making the playoffs were slight as late as August. Next season they’ll have Cole Hamels all year, the return of Yu Darvish, and every reason to expect that Derek Holland will return to form. That’s a helluva top of the rotation. If Beltre can remain Beltre, the 2015 second-half versions of Choo and Andrus show up in April, and Fielder and Moreland and Odor contribute at least as much as they did this year, they’re bound to be competitive in a tough American League West.

And the nightmare of giving the Blue Jays three extra outs will fade.

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