By Christopher Frangolini
Some players may be adopting Bryce Harper’s, “Make Baseball Fun Again” mantra.
In the Texas Rangers 7-6 victory over the visiting Toronto Blue Jays Sunday, Jose Bautista and Rougned Odor got into a not-so-average baseball scuffle that cleared the dugouts and warranted eight ejections.
Bautista, the bat-flipping superstar, was beamed on the first pitch of the at-bat by Matt Bush in the eight inning.
The next batter, Justin Smoak, hit a ground ball to Adrian Beltre, who threw over to second (Odor) to start a double play. Bautista appeared to be trying to break up that double play with a low, hard-slide and Odor didn’t like it. Because of the new rules, Bautista and Smoak were ruled out ending the inning. But that didn’t conclude the entertainment.
The cause and effect of a hard slide. https://t.co/D8GHyLBkOL
— Baseball Quotes (@BaseballQuotes1) May 15, 2016
Odor took a swing at Bautista knocking off his helmet and glasses. Beltre ran over and put Bautista in a bear-hug, preventing him from joining in the melee.
“I was pretty surprised,” Bautista said. “I mean, obviously, that’s the only reason that he got me and he got me pretty good, so I have to give him that. It takes a litter bigger man to knock me down.”
Beltre, Odor and Texas bench coach Steve Buechele and Blue Jays’ Josh Donaldson were among the notable ejected.
“I know I’m going to be suspended for a couple of games,” Odor said.
Blue Jays reliever Jesse Chavez retaliated in the next frame, hitting Prince Fielder with a pitch and earning himself an automatic ejection due to the warnings issued.
I wonder if the Rangers/Blue Jays were thinking about making baseball fun again while fighting.
— Brett Anderson (@BrettAnderson35) May 15, 2016
By no means am I condoling fighting in baseball or any other sport for that matter. But a little rivalry and a strike on baseball’s “unwritten rules” definitely make the game more entertaining.
I guess the Rangers did remember a Bautista bat-flip in last year’s AL Division Series. Suspensions are reportedly to be announced on Tuesday.