Jose Bautista bat-flipped his way into the headlines again on Wednesday night. This time his homer and bat flip came against the Atlanta Braves, and now the pitcher who gave up the homer has flipped things on Bautista with a brutal clap back.
Bautista’s homer came in the eighth inning of what would be an 8-4 win for the Braves. Tempers were already high after Jason Motte’s quick pitch of Kevin Pillar an inning earlier. That led to the benches clearing and Pillar uttering what appeared to be a homophobic slur at Motte. The benches would empty a second time after Bautista took Braves reliever Eric O’Flaherty deep and punctuated it with a bat flip that wasn’t quite as thunderous as his 2015 postseason bat flip against the Texas Rangers.
Have a look, at two different angles:
José Bautista perreó un jonrón en la 8va perdiendo 8-4 y se vaciaron los dugouts. pic.twitter.com/Id3CKX5t6w
— #DoYourJob (@renucho) May 18, 2017
Jose Bautista with the BAT FLIP & TROT to tick the Braves off #BlueJays
— Around The Bases POD (@AroundBasesPOD) May 18, 2017
Bautista’s infamous 2015 bat flip is what led to his fight with Rangers’ second baseman Roughned Odor last season — a fight in which Bautista got punched right in the face. You know who hasn’t forgotten that? Eric O’Flaherty.
He told reporters after the game:
“I’m surprised he’s ready to fight again after last year,” O’Flaherty said, laughing. “But he’s throwing some looks around so … it’s what it is.”
O’Flaherty also gave us a less punchline-y response to reporters, which seems to speak more to that idea that some players are sick of Bautista’s theatrics. Via David O’Brien at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
“That’s something that’s making the game tough to watch lately,” O’Flaherty said. “It’s just turned into look-at-me stuff, it’s not even about winning anymore. Guy wants to hit a home run in a five-run game, pimp it, throw the bat around – I mean, I don’t know. It’s frustrating as a pitcher. I didn’t see it at the time, but I saw the video – he looked at me, tried to make eye contact. It’s just tired. We’ve seen it from him, though.”
It’s obvious that Bautista got the best of O’Flaherty on the field, but the Braves pitcher certainly won the verbal battle.
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