Bautista should cool it with umps: Teammate

Jose Bautista was thrown out in the ninth inning of Sunday's game by home plate umpire Gary Darling...

Jose Bautista was thrown out in the ninth inning of Sunday's game by home plate umpire Gary Darling for arguing strikes. “Alienating umpires” is something veteran Mark DeRosa says his teammate needs to be wary of as it “shows individualism.” (GETTY IMAGES)

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:17 PM ET

There are times Mark DeRosa will argue a called strike with an umpire.

He’ll then head to the video room and look at a replay of the pitch.

Next time up he’ll step in and the conversation will unfold like this:

Umpire: “Well, what was it? I know you went inside and looked at it?”

DeRosa, head down, smiling: “Ah, it was a strike ... sorry.”

And the game continues. The player-umpire relationship is not damaged. No grudges are held.

The Blue Jays signed the veteran DeRosa to be a good influence on wild stallion Brett Lawrie.

It was suggested DeRosa, who has a good relationship with some umpires, not so good with others, should talk with Jose Bautista.



The two already have talked umpires as recently as a couple of weeks ago.

“We were in the video room and I said how it’s tough enough playing this game without alienating umpires,’” DeRosa said at U.S. Cellular Field on Monday night before the Jays-White Sox opener.

And?<

“And for Jose it comes back to that quote he had in the papers early in the season.”

The first week of the season Bautista told reporters that “I sometimes have trouble more than other players dealing with my production being affected by somebody else’s mediocrity. It’s the way that I am as a person. It’s a tougher pill to swallow for me sometimes.”<

Bautista was ejected Sunday after striking out for the second out of the ninth inning with runners on second and third in a 6-4 loss to the Texas Rangers.

The first pitch from Rangers closer Joe Nathan was low and called a strike by umpire Gary Darling. The next was a called check swing. Bautista swung and missed strike three, then turned to argue with Darling, who argued back Frank Pulli style.

Bautista was ejected for the first time this season and later threw his bat, helmet and elbow pad, which will earn him to a fine. He could receive a one-game suspension.

“I tell a lot of players perception is reality, if we have a man on second and none out, it doesn’t look good if it looks like you’re not trying to move him over,” said DeRosa. “If you are griping constantly about balls and strikes, it can and will be, viewed in a negative way.

“Jose is a good guy, he works extremely hard and is a talent. We rely on him. We need him getting into hitter’s counts.”

DeRosa is in his 16th year in the majors after breaking in with the Atlanta Braves in 1998.

“I learned from the Braves that as a player you’re better off be-friending an ump rather than arguing,” DeRosa said. “They grind it out. They came up through the minors like we did.”

DeRosa said there are some umpires he’ll congratulate on becoming a grandpa or send over a beer to a group’s table if they’re in the same restaurant. And others he has zero relationship with.

“When everyone is hot and 40,000 people are screaming, you want to be able to talk to a guy,” De Rosa said. “Umpires are neutral, but they are also human beings.”

A former manager told us once how, before he ran his first spring training, he spoke with St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, asking what he concentrated on during spring training.

The answer was umpires.

“Tony said he always told his players each spring you have to show total respect for the umpires,” he said. “You have to have the ability to control emotions, take umpires out of the game.”

Bautista often complains in Wade Boggs/Rickey Henderson fashion after called strikes.

“I don’t know if that spread,” the candidate said, speaking of Yunel Escobar and Brett Lawrie. “But when you show disrespect for the umps, it shows individualism and a lack of professionalism. Fans see it and don’t respect it.

“Look at the way the Baltimore Orioles under Buck Showalter conduct themselves on the field. I don’t think I have ever seen them loose control.”

After hitting in the cage and doing his sprints in right with Melky Cabrera and Emilio Bonifacio, Bautista entered the Jays dugout two hours before first pitch.

He was asked about Sunday.

“Plenty of people want me to talk about it, I didn’t talk to them so I don’t think it’s fair to talk to you,” said Bautista.

“I really don’t see what good can come of me talking about Sunday.”


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