It’s commonly believed Saturday’s WBC brawl between Mexico and Canada —- sparked by Arnold Leon drilling Rene Tosoni after the latter’s teammate, Chris Robinson, bunted to lead off the top of the 9th with Canada up by 6 runs — would’ve been avoided had it been fully understood Canada needed to score as many runs as possible to ensure advancement in the tournament (particularly after being routed by Italy the night prior). Quizzed by MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm, international etiquette expert Jose Bautista seemed to suggest Leon’s response was justified.
“I believe in the unwritten rules of the game,” Bautista told reporters Sunday morning. “They should be respected. It’s a code amongst players and everybody who plays baseball at a level higher than Little League knows what it is and there’s no excuse.”
The comments can be taken as somewhat controversial considering Canada needed to score as many runs as possible because of the tournament’s rules. If the United States had lost to Italy on Saturday night, then there was a scenario in which three teams — including Canada — could have finished tied with a 1-2 record.
The tiebreaker then would have been based on run differential. In a regular-season game, bunting to lead off the ninth would have been considered a definite no-no, but Bautista felt the same guidelines should have been applied in this scenario as well.
It’s a view that isn’t necessarily shared by Blue Jays manager John Gibbons.
“The run differential matters,” Gibbons said. “Everybody knows that, so it shouldn’t really surprise anybody. If that determines whether you move on or not, I’m sure the other side would have probably done the same thing, I would think.”