The first occurred in the top of the seventh inning when Braves reliever Jason Motte quick-pitched Kevin Pillar into an inning-ending strikeout. Pillar, none too pleased, muttered something toward Motte that caught the attention of catcher Kurt Suzuki.
The three exchanged words as their teammates filtered onto the field, but umpires were able to corral the sides without incident. All clear.
That was until the top of the eight inning, when Bautista blasted an Eric O’Flaherty pitch 407 feet over the left-field fence, trimming the Braves’ lead to four. The Blue Jays slugger showboated with his trademark bat flip as he set off for first base, the Braves took exception, and players reconvened for another on-field gathering.
It’s turning to look at me stuff, it’s not even about winning anymore. Once they hit a home run in a five-run game, pimp it, throw the bat around, it’s frustrating as a pitcher, O’Flaherty said after the game. 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 enough.
Major League Baseball has been trying to expand the brand just like the NFL, with the most notable efforts coming by way of the World Baseball Classic. And with teams from countries like Israel, Italy and the Netherlands all having success there, the appeal of playing games in other countries has become more and more logical.
Manfred has mentioned this possibility before, raising the possibility of games in London as early as the 2017 season. That obviously didn’t happen, but the topic is still on his mind.