Jose Bautista is often known as Joey Bats. Now people are calling him "Joey Bat Flip," after his epic celebration capped a monstrous three-run home run in the seventh inning of Wednesday's deciding Game 5 of the American League Division Series.
With the hit, Bautista helped send the Blue Jays to the American League Championship Series. With the flip, Bautista created an image that rivals Joe Carter's 1993 World Series-winning blast. ...
See the whole article here, courtesy of ESPN.
Kicking Back Comments: As referees we need to let players emote. Just as players need to let referees emote too and not think that we are all robots. Take a look here at an interesting article about referee communication ... some of which you have seen here at Kicking Back before.
If we take a look at Bautista's reaction, it is completely understandable in context. Big game, big hit. If instead he flipped his bat in the 1st inning if he crushed one over the wall, then a different reaction from the umpire would be necessary involving a dressing down I would imagine.
As referees we need to keep the contest in context to best determine a course of action. Is this a big game? Is this a big game for the particular player for some reason? (1st match back after a long injury? Last match before retirement?)
We need to allow such a player some latitude in expressing their emotions about the situation. If we don't, well, frankly we are robbing the fun out of the sport for them and that is not why we are here.
Consider the opposite number, Dyson in this case, the pitcher who just got lit up for a 3 run homer. He's upset as it is for giving up those runs in such a critical scenario, now add to that a gleeful Bautista and we have an issue. #10 from the Blue Jays did not help by hanging around and egging the crowd on which of course lead to the benches clearing.
In the same way we allowed Bautista to emote, we should allow Dyson to as well. The real magic is now not letting that brushfire spread wildly between the teams. It can be very powerful to let a player, or players have their say with each other and come in as a referee and say, "OK, are we done now?"
Like anything else, it is a fine line and a balancing act to be sure. We may even need to take a barb or two as referees in the process. I would opine however, it is a small price to pay to let some of the air out of the tire to finish with 22.