I’m back behind the Tap Room bar after a week roaming the Gaylord National Resort near Washington D.C.
It’s a welcomed change. Crowded lobbies are not my thing. I much prefer a poorly lit, fictional dive. It’s what I call home.
Perhaps the most interesting thing from last week’s winter meetings – at least from an Orioles’ perspective – was executive vice president Dan Duquette’s admission that he told Jose Bautista’s agents that he wasn’t interested in their client because Orioles’ fans despise Joey Bats.
He’s not wrong.
Bautista, who terrorized the Orioles with his bat and annoyed them with his exaggerated antics while playing for the Toronto Blue Jays, is Enemy No. 1 at Camden Yards. That’s especially the case now that Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz and Mark Teixeira are all retired.
It certainly was odd hearing a baseball executive say that he’s discounting a player because he’s not liked by the fan base. But we all know by now Duquette is not your typical baseball executive.
I may be in the minority here, but Duquette’s statement didn’t bother me. For one, it’s true and he’s just being honest. Secondly, it’s not like he makes all of his decisions based on popular opinion; this was a rare instance.
Third, Bautista wasn’t coming to Baltimore anyway. He’s looking for too much money and the Orioles would have to surrender a first-round draft pick to secure his services. That doesn’t make sense given Bautista’s apparent decline at age 36.
But the concept did intrigue me. And I couldn’t wait to ask you people what you thought.
Here’s what I want to know: If Joey Bats were to play for the Orioles, would you cheer for him? I mean, he’d be wearing your team’s uniform and trying to win a pennant for Baltimore. Yankee fans embraced Johnny Damon, so couldn’t you embrace Bautista?
Normally, fans change their booing stripes when villains change uniforms. But I clearly remember Reggie Jackson being disliked in his one year with the Orioles in 1976 (of course, he did hold out during the first part of the season). And I don’t remember a lot of love for Albert Belle either.
So, grab a barstool and toss me your two cents. Duquette was right. You hate Bautista.
But could you put that aside if he were playing for your hometown birds?
Tap-In Question: Would you cheer for Jose Bautista if he were an Oriole?