To flip your bat or not to flip your bat, that is the question (plus playoffs payroll talk)

Has anything in baseball gotten as much attention recently as Jose Bautista's bat flip? Well, actually, yes: Chase Utley's takeout slide/rolling block. But now no one is talking about that anymore.

The Orioles have a long history with Bautista, who actually was once briefly an Oriole. He has angered Orioles fans and players several times. How can we forget Bautista and Adam Jones screaming at each other in April at Rogers Centre?

Bautista had a pitch thrown behind him by Jason Garcia. The Orioles saw it as a pitch that got away from a nervous Rule 5 draft pick that was making his fourth big league appearance. Bautista saw it as a pitch with a purpose. A few pitches later he homered, stood at the plate, admired it and then, yes, flipped his bat.

Jones-Upset-Sidebar.jpgAfter the game, Jones said, "All right, you hit the home run, but he's got 200-some in his career, it's not his first one, it's not a walk-off, it's in the middle of the seventh inning. Hit it. Don't walk halfway down the line. Respect the game, and I know he does, but at that moment right there, he didn't. And when it happens to my team, I'm going to take offense to it."

Toronto reporters quoted Bautista after that game as saying, "I think it's all pretty well planned out and premeditated, and I think they hide behind the way their manager acts and conducts himself. ...They're going to continue to keep doing that until something comes down from MLB."

Click here for the game story from that night, which includes the video of Bautista's homer off Garcia.

Maybe Orioles fans can't exactly look at Bautista with any measure of objectivity. But the guy does seem to get under the skin of just about every team he plays. I think Bautista has come to like being hated by opponent fans and players.

Ironically, his bat flip overshadowed the actual homer itself, which must have been the biggest of his life. Or at least on a very short list of his biggest homers ever.

Bautista rises to the occasion often, the Orioles have seen enough evidence of that. But his bat flip Wednesday came with a both a stare out to the mound and glare into the visiting dugout. Some see that as Bautista beating the other team and then showing them up as well.

Others think emotion is good for the game and this was a player showing emotion. Players are not robots, they say.

Here is a point to consider however: What is the pitcher equivalent of an epic bat flip? I have no idea, but whatever it would be, and had Sam Dyson fanned Bautista there and done the equivalent, does anyone think Bautista would have been OK with that?

Was his bat flip just a player showing some fire, passion and emotion that is indeed good for the game, or was that bat flip someone showing a lack of class and sportsmanship?

It is never all about the money: columnist Richard Justice tweeted this after the Mets beat the Dodgers in Game 5 last night:

"None of the top 9 payroll teams made the LCS. The Blue Jays are 10th, the Cubs 13th, the Royals 16th and the Mets are 21st. Average rank is 15th."

Here is the L.A. Dodgers payroll the last three years:

2013 - $216 million
2014 - $229 million
2015 - $273 million

That netted the Dodgers one postseason series win in the last three years. The Orioles can match that with one postseason series win over the past three years.

Per this Deadspin article, here are the 2015 Major League Baseball opening day payrolls:

$123 million - Toronto
$119 million - Chicago Cubs
$114 million - Kansas City
$110 million - Orioles
$101 million - New York Mets

The Dodgers spent big and had not one, but two aces, and didn't win in October. Two long-held narratives got crushed last night.

Breaking down the Blue Jays-Royals battle in the A...
Remembering Jose Bautista's brief stay with the Or...

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