The strange (and very paranoid) similarities between Blue Jays, Jose Bautista, and Republican nominee, Donald Trump…
There are a lot of roles to fill in a Major League Baseball postseason run. Andrew Miller has been an assassin supreme coming out of the bullpen to rack up the K’s. Francisco Lindor has been the fleet footed wizard of the infield, while Mike Napoli is a sleeping giant just waiting to host the party once he finds his swing once more. Our opponents are not without their own roles. Short of taking cheap shots, (but seriously, a bird? C’mon, no one ever saw a blue jay and thought, ‘I bet that bird can average an ERA under 2.5)
Where was I? Oh, right. The role that some of the Blue Jays have taken. Specifically, Jose Bautista. The slugger hasn’t been slugging this series. With the rest of the Canadians only scoring once out of eighteen innings so far, he’s in good company. To poach a line from Yoda- Failure leads to frustration. Frustration leads to desperation. Desperation leads to Paranoia. Paranoia leads to Jose Bautista becoming MLB’s equivalent to tin-foil hat aficionados such as Infowars, Alex Jones, and failing Republican nominee, Donald Trump.
Vote for whoever you want. PressureLife is politically exhausted at this point. We risk mentioning the Orange One with the trepidation one exercises around Beetlejuice if only to highlight a similarity. After the resounding loss following game 2, Bautista offered sports website, Deadspin, this cryptic comment regarding his team’s inability to connect bat to ball to, “All you gotta do is look at video and count how many times [Indians pitchers] throw pitches over the heart of the plate. It hasn’t been many. They’ve been able to do that because of the circumstances- that I’m not trying to talk about because I can’t. That’s for you guys to do but you guys don’t really want to talk about that either.”
Let’s examine Bautista’s words. He’s mad that Indians pitchers don’t lob their offerings across the middle of the plate, insinuating that the Indians are getting called strikes on what he assumes to be balls. A typical complaint from a hitter in a slump. What gets into crazytown is when he mentions “because of the circumstances” What circumstances? This is a not-at-all veiled allusion to a conspiracy waged against the Blue Jays. What circumstances you ask? Well, as Bautista added, “I’m not trying to talk about that because I can’t.” Oh, how convenient to level weird accusations and then not have to defend or prove them at all. Furthermore, the whole “…because I can’t.” part makes it sounds as if there is an even larger Orwellian apparatus silencing dissenters on a level commiserate with Tiananmen Square.
Bautista ends his locker room rant like a child spilling a puzzle on the floor with more pieces missing than present; expecting his parents to sort out the confounding mess left in his wake. “That’s for you guys to do,” he closes, “but you guys don’t really want to talk about that either.” So now, not only are the Indians and the umpires in on it, not only is all of the MLB’s front office against the Blue Jays, so too now, is the dreaded Media.
Does he have a leg to stand on? According to the same Deadspin article, after reviewing the entirety of both games the site concluded that the umpires biffed eleven calls for the Jays and ten for the Indians, hardly a conspiracy of global proportions. When you’re losing, when you just can’t seem to find your legs and time is running out and your back is against the wall, you lash out wildly in a last dash to salvage the ego. You cry out. “The game is fraudulent,” you whine to anyone within earshot. Similarly, when your poll numbers are plummeting, when your own party is no longer returning your calls and you’re facing more sexual assault accusations that you have ex-wives, you cry out (primarily on Twitter) that the election is rigged against you, that you never had a chance against such rampant corruption. Take Trump’s latest internet screed, “Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day. Why do Republican leaders deny what is going on? So naïve!” and “The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary – but also at many polling places – SAD” As for any shred of evidence whatsoever? In this regard, he’s as much a sleuth as Bautista, in as much as they are not at all.
Crying conspiracy makes a good balm for a wounded psyche but the deficit of success Trump is experiencing parallels Bautista’s in that their troubles are both entirely of their own making. Both Team Trump and the Blue Jays are spiraling faster toward defeat and have yet to find any effective means to combat the opponent on their respective fields. What else is a sore loser to do than blame everyone but themselves?
While I don’t mean to get ahead of myself, I still remember the four losses in a row the Red Sox handed us in 2007 postseason. We were up three games to none in the series and Indians pitcher, Julian Tavarez, was already wearing his ALCS championship shirt under his jersey with all the irony of a “Dewey Wins In Landslide” front page headline. And Hillary hasn’t been the sharpest candidate this election cycle either. There is still time for both the democrats and the Indians to muck things up, but from where we stand now I’m wondering, come November, will the Blue Jays prove as unlikely to concede defeat to their betters as Trump has already vowed?
Ironically, if Trump does win the election many of us may end up rooting for the Blue Jays after the mass migration over the northern border.