Jose Bautista, an outfielder for the Toronto Blue Jays, caught Texas Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor’s fist with his face in an old school baseball brawl on Sunday.
This brawl has been building for a while dating back to a Blue-Jay/Rangers face-off during Game 5 of ALDS where Bautista made a clutch home-run play and did triumphant bat-flip. So triumphant that it has become a necessary gif floating around the internet. The Rangers, who clearly didn’t take too kindly to the gloat, bided their time and seven months later showed Bautista exactly how they felt about him.
As Bautista prepared to make his final at-bat play, relief pitcher Matt Bush launched a 96-mph ball directly to his rib cage. It was no accident. Luckily Bautista deflected the ball with an elbow. Bautista, obviously livid, saw the ball Justin Smoak grounded to third baseman Adrain Beltre as an opportunity to take revenge and slid into second base and Rougned Odor hard.
Baustista explained his thought process saying, “Baseball plays are supposed to be taken care of by baseball plays. I have a hard slide at second base. I could have injured him. I chose not to….tried to send a message that I didn’t appreciate getting hit.’’
Well, his plan backfired because after exchanging a few choice words Odor landed a punch to Bautista’s jaw that removed his glasses and cap.
Odor explained, “I can tell when someone is coming hard to second base, so I was just trying to protect myself.”
After that of course both teams took to the field and engaged in an unnecessary scuffle. Though eight players were ejected during Sunday night’s game, MLB has yet to hand out suspensions or fines.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister made a statement post game saying, “I think it’s just two hard-nosed ball clubs that play the game of baseball,’’ Banister said in his post-game press conference. “They play hard. We play hard. They got to do what they do. I didn’t think it was wrong….I take offense to everyone that (thinks) this isn’t a game that should be played hard and with intensity.’’
Moral of the story…don’t mess with Texas.