Jays manager goes on tirade after controversial review
Jays’ Jose Bautista slides into second base while interfering with Rays’ Logan Forsythe during the ninth inning of last night’s game. (AP)
John Gibbons looked like he was ready to fight. He didn’t seem to care who. He didn’t seem to care how.
No one gave him an explanation. No one informed him of who made the call. No one bothered to break down much of anything.
No one could make much sense of a ball game lost after it was almost won by the Blue Jays.
In an instant — and an instant-replay review — the Jays went from near victory to angry and frustrated defeat in an emotional and frenzied ninth inning.
“We’re turning the game into a joke,” Gibbons said after the Blue Jays lost 3-2 to Tampa Bay on a game-altering replay call that turned one team’s winning run into a game-winning double play for the Rays. “That’s flat-out embarrassing. That cost us a chance to win a major league game.”
You knew the manager was half out of his mind when he said: “You know what, maybe we’ll come out wearing dresses tomorrow. Maybe that’s what everyone’s looking for.”
That he’ll be doing some backtracking on this afternoon when the Jays conclude their four-game series here. He chose the wrong words. On Thursday, he’ll probably apologize for his unfortuante choice of gender references.
“It’s really an embarrassment,” the manager said. “Baseball has been a hard-nosed game. He’s (Jose Bautista) going into the bag. There’s really no explanation for it. Wins matter in this business. For that to come out, like that, I don’t get it.”
Edwin Encarnacion was at the plate in the ninth inning, the bases were loaded and the Blue Jays trailed by a run. Bautista was on first base. Encarnacion hit the ball to third baseman Evan Longoria, who threw to second baseman Logan Forsythe. Bautista was out at second base. Forsythe’s throw was wild and Encarnacion was safe.
Ryan Goins and Josh Donaldson apparently scored to put the Jays ahead.
Then came the call for instant replay from Tampa manager Kevin Cash.
There was really not much wrong with Bautista’s slide. There was something wrong with his sticking his hand out and basically grabbing — or trying to grab — the foot of Forsythe.
“I felt something on my back leg,” Forsythe said. “I didn’t know he threw his hand out.”
This is all new, Rule 6.01(j), re-written after the messy Chase Utley playoff slide changed some of baseball’s sensibilities. This is all new, first time this changed the result of a game or at least the lead in a game. The rule was put in for safety reasons and those are good reasons to change rules.
There was nothing unsafe about what a very frustrated Bautista did.
“I didn’t think it was illegal to make contact,” said Bautista, who didn’t slide in any direction other than at the bag. “I’m not supposed to put my hands up.” And he didn’t.
“Did I reach out? Perhaps. That doesn’t mean it’s an illegal slide.”
What Bautista wanted to know afterwards is, was Forsythe on the bag when he was called out — or was it a phantom play at second base.
“ I felt like I respected the rule,” he said. “It’s embarrassing to lose a major-league baseball game that way. We grow up playing a certain way. To lose a game like that, it’s strange.
“I don’t see how my play was unsafe. Player safety is a big concern, I understand that. I feel I slid directly at the bag. I could have done much worse. I chose not to.”
Bautista, like Gibbons, wanted to know who made the call and wanted to know how the call was made and came away frustrated that he had no answers.
“Was it the umpire? Was it the replay umpire? Everybody has to be accountable.”
To find out nothing, “that’s a cowardly way to hide.”
The call was in fact made in New York, by whom, we will not know.
Bautista said he didn’t want to say more because “it’s not like I’m on their good side.”
The play was reviewed in New York to see if the rule was violated and that Forsythe was impeded with.
Whatever the decision, Gibbons was as frustrated as he’s ever been.
“That’s been baseball forever,” he said, talking of the hard play at second base. “He went right over the bag. I don’t know exactly how they ruled or who made the decision.
“Come on, that’s going to go down in history. For a game to end like that ...”