Jose Bautista is already a strong contender for American League MVP based on his ability to launch home runs and get on base. Now he's also a leading contender for 2011's best temper tantrum after launching his helmet, bat and other dugout items on to the field following his ejection in Friday's 6-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
After striking out swinging in the sixth inning ?�his third strikeout in as many plate appearances ?�Bautista appeared to calmly walk back to the Blue Jays dugout. However, once in the dugout, Bautista slammed his bat against the metal wall in the dugout, creating a sound that echoed throughout Rogers' Centre.
That got attention of home plate umpire Bill Welke. Well, either that did or Bautista's yelling "Pay attention!" in Welke's direction got his attention. One of the two. Either way, Welke gave Bautista the heave-ho, which set off a barage of flying baseball equipment and other items that weren't tied down from Toronto's dugout.
It's funny; Bautista doesn't have a reputation for being losing control. In fact, just the opposite. But here, Bautista's frustrations clearly got the best of him, and it's presumed that Welke's called third strike in the first inning was the basis for which they were built on. Bautista declined to speak to the media, so we can't confirm that ? but acting manager Don Wakamatsu appeared to support that theory.
"What makes him special is he's so competitive," Wakamatsu said of his ejected player. "Obviously, he thought some of those pitches were borderline or out of the zone, which put him in kind of a hole against an awfully good pitcher."
It's worth noting that the ball-strike calls in each of Bautista's at-bats show that Welke was accurate ? no matter what Bautista thought.
Rays third baseman Evan Longoria, who was stationed just a few feet away from where Bautista's debris landed, also weighed in with his comments on the outburst.
"I was kind of surprised at him," Longoria said. "I've known him for a couple of years now and he seems like a real calm and collected guy. It happens to all of us. He lost his temper for a second."
"My first instinct was to worry about him not hurting himself," Longoria said. "That wall is not too forgiving."
Thankfully no injuries to report to Bautista or any living being nearby. Not sure how well the wall is feeling, though. As unforgiving as it might be, if the fight is between said wall and a bat-wielding Jose Bautista, my money's always going on Bautista.