Jose Bautista: It’s All About the Chip on His Shoulder

Oct 13, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista works out one day prior to game one of the ALCS at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 13, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista works out one day prior to game one of the ALCS at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

The reason why free agent Jose Bautista has not been signed has nothing to do with baseball, nothing to do with the fact that he’s 36, and nothing to do with the price tag of $100 million that he pinned on himself. Instead, it’s all about Bautista, or “Joey Bats” as he likes to be called these days.

It’s about him and what’s becoming more obvious every day, that he’s the fingernails on the chalkboard, and a good number of people in baseball are simply tired of his act and want nothing to do with him.

It is pretty telling when a ball player like Jose Bautista can average 33 home runs and 92 RBI and no one is seriously interested in bringing those numbers to their team. And it’s even more revealing when we see a move that’s unprecedented in baseball, when Orioles general manager Dan Duquette announced to the world that Baltimore would never sign Bautista “because our fans don’t like him”.

And maybe that something to do with the heated words that were exchanged between Bautista and Adam Jones, the Orioles’ veteran center fielder, who took exception to one of “Joey Bats” bat flips to punctuate a home run he hit, like it was the first one he had hit as a big leaguer.

Or maybe it has something to do with the incident that occurred in May of last season when the young infielder for the Texas Rangers, Rougned Odor, saw fit to get the first punch in landing a hard right to the jaw of Bautista.

And if you’re not familiar with one of Bautista’s bat flips, have a look and imagine that you are the pitcher who has just thrown the pitch, or the second baseman waiting forever for Bautista to complete his walk around the bases… do you think you might get a bit of a “burn” going on inside?

This Is Between Jose Bautista and Baseball

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No, this is personal. It’s between baseball and Jose Bautista. He has one opinion of himself while most of baseball has another. Call, it if you want, just desserts. Call it vindictive. Call it what you want, but don’t call it an accident or a coincidence that Bautista is not yet signed. It may not be pretty, but it’s real. And there are reasons why it is happening, but most of all it’s happening because Jose Bautista is simply not a very likable person.

And if the Blue Jays do end up taking him back, they will do it only at a cost no more than the $17.2 million that they extended to him as a qualifying offer, which Bautista predictably turned down. Because they don’t really want him anywhere near their clubhouse either. But it’s just that they screwed things up so badly with Edwin Encarnacion, a player they’d really like to bring back, that they might feel the need to sign Bautista on a one-year deal that would restart the ugly process again next year.

Jose Bautista has a chip on his shoulder that is hard not to miss. He calls attention to himself every time he hits a home run. Not just once in a while, like when, for instance, you hit one in the bottom of the 12th and you walk off with an important win for your team, but every time. It’s the way he has chosen to play Major League Baseball. Can’t argue with that.

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Ty Cobb was the meanest and nastiest son-of-a-bitch to ever get 4,000 hits in the big leagues. And he is reviled in baseball circles even today for his character and personality. Jose Bautista is also learning a lesson about baseball. And that’s what baseball sees as the difference between being “colorful” as in entertaining, and flamboyant as in being obnoxious. Apparently, Jose Bautista is not a very likable person, and he’s paying for it now.