October 20, 2016
The Cleveland Indians are headed to the World Series. They’ll host Game 1 on Tuesday night at
Jacobs Progressive Field.
But before attempting to end the franchise’s 68-year drought without a World Series title, and before making their way through customs and out of Toronto and back to Cleveland, several Indians sent some parting shots to Blue Jays veteran Jose Bautista.
Here’s a bit of the back story: even with a win on Tuesday afternoon, the Blue Jays entered Wednesday fighting for their playoff lives. With another loss, they would be packing their bags and going home for the winter.
But the way Bautista saw it, there should be just as much pressure on Indians 24-year-old rookie left-hander Ryan Merritt, who had all of one major league start (four big league appearances) to his name before taking the ball for Cleveland’s injury-ravaged rotation in Game 5.
Jose Bautista on Ryan Merritt: "With our experience in our lineup I'm pretty sure he's going to be shaking in his boots more than we are."— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) October 19, 2016
Merritt, of course, went on to set the tone for the decisive game of the ALCS when he retired each of the first 10 batters he faced on Wednesday afternoon, including Bautista twice, to put the Indians in position to hand the ball to their shutdown ‘pen and leave Canada with a 3-0, pennant-clinching win.
So much for shaking in those boots, huh? The Indians, who have really taken to riding the disrespect train in the last month, made sure they didn’t leave Bautista out of their champagne-infused celebration at the Rogers Centre, grabbing their phones and firing off an array of cyber jabs at the Jays slugger.
Oh. Wednesday also just so happened to be Bautista's 36th birthday.
Someone in mob of players yelled at Merritt: "Were you shaking in your boots?!"— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) October 19, 2016
And last but certainly not least, the lesson anyone can probably take from this story (which, in the end, likely had very little effect on the results on the field).
Jason Kipnis on Bautista's shaking-in-his-boots comments regarding Ryan Merritt: "That’s why you don’t say dumb s**t." #ALCS— Erik Boland (@eboland11) October 20, 2016
As Nancy Sinatra once said, and as the Phillie Phanatic often illustrated in his in-between innings hijinx, these boots were made for walking, and what’s just what they’ll do. And Wednesday happened to be the day they continued to walk all over Bautista and the Blue Jays.
Bautista, a free agent in a couple of weeks, began his 2016 season sparring with the Phanatic. Perhaps he should take a page from the furry green fella and just let his actions do the talking from here on out.