A lot of people took issue with Jose Bautista’s now-infamous bat flip following his three-run homer that won the ALDS for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Darin Erstad was not one of those people.
“Honestly, you hit a ball that far in the postseason of that magnitude, he should throw it higher,” the former World Series champion and current Nebraska head baseball coach said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “There’s so much emotion in the game, in the postseason. That’s what it’s all about. He’s not trying to show anybody up. He’s just excited. It just came out. I have absolutely zero problem with it.”
But several Rangers did, including Sam Dyson, who gave up the dinger. In fact, the benches cleared twice after Bautista’s blast, but no punches were thrown.
Erstad could have done without the theatrics.
“If somebody (flips a bat and the other team doesn’t like it), one of your teammates probably wears one,” Erstad said. “That’s how you police it. It’s been done in a civil way for many, many, many years. That side is starting to get a little bit touchy, but I have absolutely zero problem with people showing emotion on the field.”
Is it possible that this is a general thing, that younger fans embrace the showmanship more than older fans? Or that this might be a cultural thing, that American players are a little too buttoned-up, whereas Dominican players are a little more open to celebration?
“No I don’t (think so),” Erstad said. “Mike Scioscia taught me the best line about how to build a clubhouse. His line was, ‘It takes all kinds.’ When you get a bunch of different personalities together, that’s what makes a fun atmosphere. I remember (playing with) Vladimir Guerrero – obviously a tremendous player. After we’d get off the bus, he’d probably have 10 of his family members with him, and I just couldn’t relate to that. That’s not how we grew up. And he starts talking about ‘Oh, we used to live on a dirt floor in a hut. Six of us sleeping together.’ And now they’re in America together. How do I relate to that? I can’t even comprehend what a lot of their families have been through.
“When you watch the Caribbean World Series on TV, the fans are going crazy in the stands, the players are having fun,” Erstad continued. “It takes all kinds to play this game. There’s not one right way to do it, and I just like that blend. But in a locker room, you’re going to have a divide. It doesn’t matter what part of the world they’re from. You’re going to have some guys like each other, some guys don’t like each other. I just don’t believe that exists. I just thin there’s a lot of great people in the game. Back when we played or even now, they’re great people. Who cares where they’re from?”
The Blue Jays will play the Royals in the ALCS. Game 1 is Friday in Kansas City at 8:07 p.m. ET.