We’re in the middle of the NHL playoffs. The Toronto Raptors are in the conference finals for the first time ever. And the biggest story in Canada is a dude from the Dominican Republic getting slammed in the face.
Make no mistake- that was a real, actual brawl.
How many times have you clicked on a vid of a so-called “baseball fight” – only to gut out a 30-second commercial and get a couple teams yelling at each other and playing patty-cake while the bullpens lazily jog in and pretend someone might actually throw a punch? Almost every time.
This time Ranger Rougned Odor didn’t just throw one, he landed a freaking beauty, right on the button of Joey Bautista’s jaw.
Never mind MLB. I’ve seen fights in the UFC where a shot that clean never gets landed. Most fights in MMA and boxing don’t have blood this bad, or nearly this long of a ramp-up. 7 months.
Let’s take a look back at what lead to this Bautista face bash.
October 14th, 2015- Bautista jumps ship, tosses lumber, and apparently commits a first degree felony in violation of Major League Baseball’s almighty code in the playoffs last year:
The benches cleared twice.
It was the biggest Jays home run since Joe Carter. Certainly one of the biggest homeruns in Blue Jay history.
And of course the Rangers still remember. Because baseball players, managers and coaches never, ever, forget anything. That’s part of the code.
So you know the Rangers would retaliate. It wasn’t a question of if, but a matter of when. Fast forward 7 months to yesterday.
Jays Manager John Gibbons was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. Bautista clears the bases with a double in the 6th. And then wears one in the 8th.
There’s some swift justice MLB style! That’s what you get for stopping to admire your work and tossing your bat on Texas! … 34 weeks later the gavel comes down!
But then two-batters later the Rangers get a double play opportunity, Bautista is bent and goes hard into second and look the hell out:
There was a longer build-up to Bats v. Odor than Mayweather v. Pacquiao. And way more action.
Two things we- know. Rougned Odor will go. Type his name into YouTube and you’ll see him brawling like a madman in the minors.
There’s a number of different angles to this one. First, agree or disagree, you knew the Rangers were going to retaliate for what they believed to be the greatest crime ever against the all of baseball humanity: the stare and the bat toss.
Personally, I never played in the Major Leagues, so far be it for me to understand the code, but really, what was Bautista’s crime in the first place? He hit a monster homerun in an elimination game. It was one of the biggest moments in Toronto Blue Jay history. What was he supposed to do? Just jog to first base and act like it was no big deal?
Next, even if you think the guy showed them up and quote, doesn’t play the right way, and you feel like you have to send a message, that’s not the way to do it.
Bautista and Gibbons both felt it was cowardly or gutless to wait until Bautista’s final at-bat before dotting him. I agree with them. Not only did they wait until his last at-bat of the game to do it, it may be his last at-bat against the Rangers this season. That was the 7th time these two teams have played since the bat toss.
If it really was the crime the Rangers make it out to be, why not dot this guy right when you see him? I agree with the Jays; waiting until this guy’s final at-bat to dot him is weak.
As far Bautista’s slide: By definition, that slide is now illegal. He came in late and he came in hard. But it wasn’t like he went all Ty Cobb or even Chase Utley with it. He didn’t come in spikes up.
And I guarantee Odor knew that was coming. Fact is, not only did he punch Bautista in the face, but if you look at the way he dropped down on the turn, and where the ball ended it up, it looked like he was throwing the ball at Bautista as well. Bats is lucky he didn’t take the ball off his head from Odor.
As for Matt Bush hitting Bautista in the first place; I don’t know he was told to do it, or if he did it on his own, but it’s pretty obvious it was intentional. If you’re going to hit a guy, you do it the right way; you don’t throw it over his shoulders or around his head; you drill him in the ribs; which is what Bush did.
After all this, you’d love to say they’re even and that’s the end of it. But you know they’re not. As long as baseball is governed by this unwritten code that no one understands except the guys who play, and then even they argue about it, this type of thing is going to continue to happen.
It would seem at this point, the code is really pretty moronic…and if they continue to use it to police themselves, this type of thing will continue to happen. Except this time, an actual punch landed.
Now lay out for your suspensions and hopefully we’ll see these two hook up in the playoffs again.
This post brought to you by Jim Rome.