The ‘Odor’ of a New Rivalry

Sniff sniff sniff…What’s that I smell? Is it another rivalry brewing? I think it is.  Things heated up in Arlington yesterday afternoon, when the Toronto Blue Jays and the Texas Rangers got involved in a benches clearing brawl.  So the question begs; is this good for baseball?

The reason for the sparks flying dates back to last year, when Jays’ slugger, Jose Bautista hit a monstrous homerun against the Rangers in game five of the Divisional Series of the playoffs. Instead of rounding the bases like a professional, Bautista chucked his bat and admired his work from the batter’s box, breaking one of baseball’s unwritten rules. The bat flip sent shock waves around the league, and clearly upset many Ranger players. Rangers’ ace, Cole Hamels said “It’s hard to be politically correct. It’s tough to see. A lot of us on our team don’t carry ourselves that way,” in regards to Bautista’s bat flip. The Blue Jays won this game on the back of Bautista’s heroics and moved on to the ALCS, leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of many Ranger players.

The Rangers finally got their revenge yesterday when Rangers’ fireballer, Matt Bush, sent a 98 MPH fastball into the ribs of Bautista. Clearly intentional, Bautista put his head down and made his way to first base. Later on in the inning Bautista slide hard into second base taking out Rangers’ second baseman Rougned Odor. Odor did not take kindly of Bautista’s slide and laid a mean right hook into the jaw of Bautista. The benches cleared and multiple brawls ensued.

So, is this good for baseball? This is a hard question for me to answer. As a lover of the sport, I see the beauty in every single pitch, but baseball has been said to be boring, slow, and uneventful. Even superstars, Bryce Harper and Yasiel Puig have been promoting the “make baseball fun again,” apparel. Baseball has been declining in popularity over the past two decades and brawls like these are sure to catch the attention of even the casual sports fan. Rivalries such as the Red Sox and Yankees seem to be dying out and brawls between those teams seem to be a thing of the past. Rivalries in all sports are necessary and they create extra intensity between the players.

Baseball can use the extra intensity in my opinion. I don’t mind the bat flips and I don’t mind the retaliation by the Rangers. In fact, I love it. If you are going to show up a pitcher by staring at your homerun, then flip your bat like a bad ass, you should be prepared to get a fastball to the ribs. If you don’t want that then get your ass around the bases. It’s as simple as that. Bautista did try and take out Odor with that slide. I respect Odor for standing up for himself. If Bautista doesn’t want to get punched in the face, then don’t slide into his knees. Once again, it’s as simple as that. Unfortunately, the Rangers and Jays don’t play each other again this year, but who knows, we may see these sparks fly again come October.

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3 thoughts on “The ‘Odor’ of a New Rivalry”

  1. Although I typically agree with all of your points, I don’t agree with you this time. Jose Bautista has EVERY RIGHT to flip his bat, thumb his nose or do a jig on home plate if he is moved to do so after fairly hitting a home run… just as our own Rob Gronkowski has every right to spike the football after an awesome catch or masterful run into the end zone. The idea that the pitcher is going to throw a cheap-shot fastball at someone’s ribs is cowardly. As a batter I trust that you’re gonna abide by the rules and try to throw a strike… but instead you take this opportunity to throw the ball AT ME when I don’t have enough time to get out of the way??? Why? Because I beat you fair and square last season and showed that I was happy afterwards? If anyone has a gripe with him why not state your business to his face. If they wanna take a shot – go ahead but be prepared to get the same in return and then some. But throwing a ball and purposely hitting someone from the safety of the pitcher’s mound and a bench full of team mates says, “I want to hit and hurt you from afar and at a place where you will likely not retaliate”. Plus it could slip and kill him! Jose didn’t do anything to deserve a shot to the ribs. He hit the ball over the fence fair and square and the rangers are a bunch of va-jay-jays if their poor little prides are hurt while he deservedly flipped his bat in their faces. If the pitcher “accidentally” threw the ball and hit me in the ribs I would have “accidentally” swung my bat at his head. I bet he’d think twice about letting a fastball “slip” next time. Hey, if you don’t want Jose to flip his bat after a fairly hit home run – put a better pitcher on the mound.

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    1. I love the input and your opinion but I never said Bautista was wrong in what he did. What I was saying was that if he flips his bat he should be prepared to get hit that’s just the nature of the game. Also, if he slides hard into second base like that he’s gonna start a fight. That’s the way baseball is and should be. And I think it should continue to be like that. I said in the article how I like the bat flips and I like the retaliation. And if you think a major league pitcher is gonna miss some guys ribs and hit him in the head then he shouldn’t be in the league. I love celebrations. I love when gronk spikes the ball and I love bat flips! But teams will go after people who do that because it’s one of those unwritten rules. And I hope that continues because it is good for baseball.

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      1. I understand your point and that’s “the nature of the game” but men should act like men; even in the face of a game winning home run. Jose earned the right to flip his bat by hitting the home run. Throwing a fastball at a defenseless man standing in the batter’s box THE FOLLOWING SEASON is something I would expect a little girl to do who doesn’t get her way. They should forfeit the game if they hit a defenseless batter in retaliation. Additionally, pitchers loose control of the baseball ALL THE TIME. Certainly you can concede that EVERY pitcher looses control of the ball and accidently throws in the dirt, way outside of the batter’s box and over the catcher’s head. If they had the type of control / consistency you’re implying they would all be Cy Young award winners. To your point, I don’t think the runner should ever slide into the fielder. If he cannot touch the base or slides past the base, in an effort to take out the fielder, both runners should be out automatically and the runner should be tossed. “The nature of the game” and the men who play it should grow a pair – and suck it up – or get off the field!

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