Make Baseball Brawl Again
Time sure does fly when you’re having fun. Here we are a quarter of the way through the 2016 baseball season and it’s been nothing short of exciting. On Sunday, we got more excitement than bargained for, in the form of an ALDS rematch between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Texas Rangers.
We know how the scene is set: last year in the win-or-go-home ALDS game five, Jose Bautista hammered a go-ahead home run and hurled his bat. No one, especially not the Rangers, has forgotten this moment so in the top of the 8th inning, seven months after the bat flip – conveniently Jose Bautista’s last time at the dish against Texas this season – Joey Bats was plunked in the ribs. Justin Smoak was up next and with Bautista on first he grounded into a double play.
Here’s where things got hairy: From the moment of contact, there was no doubt that Bautista was going to be out at second, but to exact some revenge for the HBP, he slid hard and late, past the bag and into the path of Texas’ second baseman, Rougned Odor. In Bautistas’s own words, this slide was intentional, but he “could have injured [Odor] and chose not to.” Odor, unhappy with a slide that last year would have just been considered aggressive but under new rules is illegal, proceeded to punch Bautista square in the jaw.