Don Cherry doesn’t think Jose Bautista should have flipped his bat after his home run against the Texas Rangers in last year’s American League Division Series.
But he doesn’t think the Rangers should have waited so long to show their disapproval, either.
Cherry, talking on his Coach’s Corner segment during the first intermission of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final between Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh on Monday, called the Rangers “gutless” for throwing a pitch at Bautista during his last at-bat of Sunday’s game.
The game was the final one of the regular season between the two teams, who had played each other six times before that.
“I know [Bautista] embarrasses [the Rangers]. He hit the home run, it was a big one, and he flipped the bat — I honestly don’t believe he was trying to embarrass — but you can not do that,” Cherry said. “I think he just did it with the moment but you can not hit a home run and then look [at the ball] because you’ll get drilled the next time.
“This is the gutless part about the whole thing: it’s the last game, the last at-bat, they bring this guy up from the minors, [Matt] Bush, and he hits him like that,” Cherry added while a clip of Sunday’s game rolled in the background. “That’s bad. If you had any guts at all, Texas, you’d have done it the first time right off the bat. But they didn’t.”
Bush plunked Bautista in the top of the eighth with Texas holding a 7-6 lead.
Benches cleared shortly after when Bautista slid forcibly into Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor on a groundout and Odor reacted by shoving Bautista and landing a punch flush on the Toronto slugger’s jaw.
“I have to say this is one of the greatest punches I ever saw,” Cherry said. “But Bautista didn’t go down.”
Cherry then went on to explain how that kind of long delay before retribution wouldn’t happen in hockey.
He showed a clip from the first round of the NHL playoffs where Philadelphia’s Brayden Schenn slightly cross-checked Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov near the net in Game 4 of their series. The clip then switches to the following faceoff with Capitals winger T.J. Oshie talking to Schenn before the puck drops.
“There’s Oshie talking to him: ‘look you can’t do that, let’s go, first shift let’s get it over with,”‘ Cherry said over a clip of Oshie and Schenn fighting. “That’s how we do it in hockey. We have a little guts. We don’t wait until the seventh game…You get payback, but you get it right away in hockey.”
The Canadian Press via CBC Sports
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