MLB

These boots were made for mocking

As the Cleveland Indians stripped off their valuables and donned goggles ahead of champagne celebrations, the call went up. "Get the boots!" A pair of brown leather cowboy boots were pulled out from under the clear plastic tarps protecting the Indians' lockers and held aloft to cheers and laughter.

'Someone sign [boots] and send them to Bautista!'

Ryan Merritt of the Cleveland Indians holds up a pair of boots in the locker room after the his team defeated the Blue Jays 3-0 in Game 5 of the ALCS to advance to the World Series. (Elsa/Getty Images)

As the Cleveland Indians stripped off their valuables and donned goggles ahead of champagne celebrations, the call went up.

"Get the boots!"

A pair of brown leather cowboy boots were pulled out from under the clear plastic tarps protecting the Indians' lockers and held aloft to cheers and laughter.

"Someone sign them and send them to Bautista!"

The boots were safely tucked away again before the bottles were popped and Cleveland players were reluctant to speak about the comments Blue Jays right-fielder Jose Bautista had made ahead of Wednesday's 3-0 win over Toronto to win the American League Championship Series.

Bautista, hearing that pitcher Ryan Merritt would be making the start in Game 5 of the ALCS had suggested that the rookie — making only his second Major League start — would be shaking in his boots facing the Blue Jays' formidable lineup in Toronto.

"I heard it. But I didn't let it affect me or get to me," said Merritt, who retired the first 10 batters he faced in 4 1/3 innings of work. "I mean, that's a good lineup. I guess he's got a right to say it. It's my first start [in the post-season]."

Bautista, who accounted for two of Toronto's six hits in the loss, said after that the game that he didn't mean to slight Merritt or give the Indians any kind of motivation.

Comment 'impossible to miss'

"I mean there was never any disrespect meant," said Bautista. "I simply gave my opinion on what I thought could have happened. I never said that he wasn't good enough. Obviously he's here and what little experience he had before tonight, he had pitched well. I also stated that those type of matchups can go either way.

"Sometimes people step up to the occasion and he certainly did and he did tremendous today."

Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis didn't care about Bautista's attempt to play down his comments.

"That's why you don't say dumb [stuff]," said Kipnis.

Although he said that he tries to tune out television and social media, Cleveland reliever Andrew Miller said that Bautista's comments were "impossible to miss" and that some of his teammates are very active on social media and the TVs are always on in the clubhouse.

"Everybody reacts differently. Some people use it as fuel and other people ignore it," said Miller, who pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings in relief. "And Ryan Merritt, I assume he didn't pay any attention at all. He went out there and he did what everybody expected him to do, which is pretty amazing considering he has one career Major League start."

Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer was direct when asked how much Bautista's comments motivated the Indians: "None."

"We're an internally motivated group," said Bauer. "It was the butt of some jokes. But we're an internally motivated group. We set out at spring training to win the World Series. That was our goal. We knew we were talented enough.

"All the external stuff is just noise, we're here to win."

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