OAKLAND, Calif. – Infuriated by the latest review challenge to go against his Toronto Blue Jays, Jose Bautista blasted baseball’s replay system as a “joke” incapable of getting calls on the field right that needs to be eliminated.
The all-star slugger reached his tipping point in the eighth inning of Saturday’s 5-1 loss to the Oakland Athletics, when he doubled and Melky Cabrera was called out at home on a close play by umpire Bill Miller.
Cabrera immediately signalled safe and demanded that manager John Gibbons use his challenge, which he did. After a review of about 2:30, the play on the field stood meaning replays were inconclusive, even though there was one shot which seemed to show catcher Derek Norris clearly missing Cabrera’s back with a swipe tag.
Bautista, standing at second at the time, immediately waved his arms in frustration, and later ranted in the Blue Jays dugout. Cabrera’s run would have made it a 3-2 game with a runner at second for Adam Lind, but it wasn’t to be.
After the game, Bautista was waiting for reporters in the Blue Jays clubhouse and unloaded.
“(Norris) missed (Cabrera) by a good foot or two,” he said. “I don’t really know which replay they were looking at but clearly they must have had a different video feed than the one we had. It’s pretty frustrating for you to battle as a team, keep the game close, for our pitchers to be doing what they’re doing, for us to keep grinding through games and facing some touch pitching and somehow be able to tie the game in the eighth inning, it all goes down the drain because somebody first, initially, made a bad call to begin with. And then it gets upheld by god knows who, in some room in New York supposedly.
“This whole replay thing has become a joke in my eyes. I think they should just ban it, they should just get rid of it, I don’t really understand the purpose of it, but getting the right call on the field is not the purpose. That’s pretty obvious and evident. I don’t know what kind of agenda the people that are doing the replays are on, what their plan is, what their purpose is, who they’re looking after. But obviously getting the right call on the field is not what they’re doing.”
The Blue Jays have had a series of close calls go against them in reviews, including two Wednesday against Milwaukee.
On the first play, Munenori Kawasaki appeared to evade Jonathan Lucroy’s tag at first base even but was called out and the play stood upon review, while in the second, Steve Tolleson was initially called safe sliding into second base on a loose ball, but the Brewers challenged and the call was overturned.
That’s why Bautista was angry over, “not only the one tonight, for us, that have gone against us when they had a chance to get the right call and reverse a bad one that has been made on the field. I can remember another one in Baltimore, another one or two in Baltimore, that same thing, to tie or go ahead in the game like that when you’re on the road, I don’t see the point of having this replay system that doesn’t work.”
Broadcast cameras captured Bautista yelling in the dugout during the bottom of the eighth, when the Athletics scored twice more to make it a 5-1 game.
“It was over this,” said Bautista. “It’s not frustration over anything else, that situation, that moment. I feel like there was a chance for Adam Lind to tie the game in the eighth inning that was taken away from us. Man on second, two outs, 3-2 ballgame, we were right in it. Unfortunately some people, I don’t know what the right word is, lack of integrity, lack of accountability, or some really good camaraderie that are looking after each other, are not doing what they’re supposed to be doing. Because getting the right call on the field, which is why instant replay was instituted, is not the purpose of what’s happening. The best evidence is what happened today.”
Bautista, who is active within the players union, is sure to be fined by Major League Baseball for his comments.