By: Hunter Holdridge
Ladies and gentlemen welcome to tonight’s main event!! In the red corner, Texas Rangers second baseman, Rougned Odor! In the blue corner, Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista!
Wow! What a baseball game that was. Only in Texas do you get a fight this big and nasty. Let’s just say this right now; Bautista will forever remember this day, as will the Ranger faithful. This might rival Nolan Ryan’s headlock punching photo of Robin Ventura for all-time Ranger greatness! A beautiful Sunday afternoon turned ugly when tempers flared after Matt Bush’s pitch drilled Bautista in the ribs. Did I mention that was the first pitch of the AB, or the fact that it was 98mph! Or was it the fact that this was the last Jose Bautista at bat in Texas for the season (barring a post-season meeting).
Was reliever Matt Bush told to drill Bautista? Did Bush take it upon himself to drill him? Considering Bush wasn’t even on the Ranger roster last year would make you think otherwise or the fact Texas was only up 1 in the 8th inning. Third baseman Adrian Beltre was asked what he thought of the hit by pitch.
“The ball slipped from Bush and they took it the wrong way,” He said.
You can make a case for either way so take it however you would like but none of this is surprising and Toronto shouldn’t act like this wasn’t coming at some point. It doesn’t matter if its game one or game 7 of the season series, we knew this was coming. Following the plunking and the changing of pitchers, things finally came to a boiling point when Beltre flipped the ball to Odor for the potential inning ending double play. Bautista slid very late and looked to take Odor out. After the chase Utley incident last post-season, MLB implemented a new rule for “illegal slides” for the 2016 season.
The rule states, “A runner will have to make a “bona fide slide,” which is defined as making contact with the ground before reaching the base, being able to and attempting to reach the base with a hand or foot, being able to and attempting to remain on the base at the completion of the slide (except at home plate) and not changing his path for the purpose of initiating contact with a fielder.”
Take a look below.
After watching the video clip of the slide its very clear Bautista did not slide before the bag and he did not attempt to remain on the base. By rule this is exactly the type of slide that the MLB is trying to get rid of and Bautista was clearly in violation. The reason this is so pertinent is because after Utley’s slide, which fractured Ruben Tejada’s fibula, MLB wanted to prevent such devastating injuries on the basepaths. Odor didn’t like that slide by Bautista and rightfully so. Bautista got involved because he was obviously angry about getting nailed by the pitch and was looking for some form of retaliation. Bautista also added after the game that, “If he wanted to hurt Odor on the slide he could have,”
That statement there proves Jose’s true character. The problem with Bautista is he always tries to show off and then runs his mouth. Yet when somebody calls him out on it or tries to send him a message he gets upset. You can’t have it both ways here Jose, you knew this was coming so suck it up and deal with it. His comments after the game further what I’m trying to get across as him being a hypocrite and kind of a drama queen.
“He got me kinda good… But it takes a little bit bigger of a man to knock me down”… Someone tell him he got his world rocked by a 22-year old. This is why Bautista has become nothing but a drama queen and can’t take the heat but can sure dish it out. Bautista has always had a chip on his shoulder or an axe to grind with critics on his alleged steroid use. That has come up because in 2010, he hit 54 home runs when he was 29-years-old. Before that, he had never hit more than 16 in a season. Those who didn’t accuse him of cheating, attributed the increase in power due to be traded to Toronto’s hitter friendly park. These are some of the reasons why he is such an emotional and controversial player, who needs to calm down with the showboating and just play ball.
Let’s get one thing straight, Odor did not initiate the fight, he voiced his displeasure with Bautista and it was Jose that was cocking his arm back and it wasn’t to tickle Odor. Watching it live, Bautista was lucky that Adrian Beltre was holding him back and away from more harm, because Odor would’ve put him in the turf. After about a 6-minute scrum with multiple ejections, things seemed to settle down…except things are not always what they seem in this game.
Blue Jay reliever Jesse Chavez drilled gargantuan Ranger first baseman Prince Fielder, the leadoff man for Texas in the 8th in the leg. Thankfully, he immediately laughed and shrugged it off (If you’re going to hit someone to make a point, you might want to throw harder than Sanchez and not at a man of Fielder’s size. Maybe this will light a fire under Fielder; we can only hope). But this still made the benches clear again and more ejections followed. It was relatively smooth sailing after the 8th inning rodeo and reliever Sam Dyson slammed the door for the save/ series win for Texas with a 7-6 final score (I think Dyson needs to have more save attempts for Texas in the future).
MLB will review each case and break down the video and I suspect to see fines and some suspensions to follow. I fully expect Bautista and Odor to get suspended. Others who had supporting roles that should be reviewed are: Donaldson, center fielder Kevin Pillar, Chavez, and possibly manager John Gibbons for the Jays and Bush for the Rangers. If they aren’t suspended, I expect hefty fines; especially for Gibbons. Let’s not forget that the home plate umpire had originally tossed Gibbons in the 3rd inning. That’s a major taboo he violated. Once you’re “outta here” you stay “outta here” and since he didn’t come back to the field to calm his players, but to yell at Rangers manager Jeff Bannister.
I doubt Gibbons gets any suspension but I’m sure he’ll receive a hefty fine. Odor will most likely face the most games since his fist collided with Bautista and Donaldson during the melee. I’m guessing he gets 5-10 games for his actions. Bush and Chavez will most likely face a game or 2 suspensions for plunking players on each squad. Donaldson, Pillar, and others who are deemed as “roles” in the brawl will most likely receive 2-5 game suspensions. Bautista is an interesting case since he was involved in the brawl and his “intentional illegal” slide into 2nd base. Since this is a new rule, there isn’t much history to go on in terms of suspensions and fines. My guess is he gets similar to what Odor gets so I’ll say 5-10 games. Fines will vary and could be anywhere between $5,000 to $300,000, basing it off past fines for fighting or involvement in brawls.
Who would of thought a nice Sunday afternoon would have been this eventful and exciting to watch? Even without the brawl, this was a great ball game to witness.
Forgotten Hero: What another show for Ian Desmond! With his team trailing by 2, 2outs, and 2 on, he got his opportunity and didn’t miss it. Desmond unleashed on a hanging slider, driving it 410 feet! That gave the Texas the (7-6) advantage headed into the eventful 8th inning. Oh and he had a nice little bat flip of his own but I highly doubt anyone on the Jays staff took notice since Desmond wasn’t even on the Rangers roster last season.
Final Take: The Rangers fought off a tough Blue Jays team to earn a series victory both on the field and on the scoreboard! We’ll have to wait for round 3 if the two teams meet in the post-season and what a wild ride that could be!
With all the drama behind us we can focus on Texas moving forward with a few tough division series on the slate. I say the Rangers go 4-2 against the A’s and Astros this week, which will be interesting to see how the team responds after the brawl.