We could go on for days about the merits of a good ol' basebrawl, when it's necessary to retaliate and how long you have to do so, and all the other unwritten code in the game of baseball.
But let's get one of thing out of the way.
What we witnessed on Sunday at Globe Life Park in Arlington was something that'll be remembered for a long time whether you thought it was childish or awesome (the latter is correct). And one thing can't be argued, that fight, and particularly that punch, was something you rarely see in a game where fights usually feature nothing but a lot of chest bowing and yelling back and forth at each other.
Now, let's get into the series of events that led to the melee and turned Sunday's game in Arlington into Jose Bautista Bobblehead night a day after fans were treated to Rougned Odor Bobbleheads (sorry, couldn't help but repeat that awesome line from Twitter).
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This had obvious roots back to October when Bautista hit the bomb heard round the world — a knockout punch of his own to the Rangers' season — that was followed by one of the most epic bat flips you'll ever see. While I personally think it was pretty awesome, you can definitely see how it rubbed the Rangers the wrong way, especially given the fact he threw the bat toward the Rangers dugout.
So in Bautista's last at-bat in the last meeting of the year between the teams, barring a playoff rematch, Matt Bush drilled Bautista in his armored elbow before the 97 mph heater glanced his ribs.
The Rangers tried to pretend the pitch wasn't on purpose, but it was, and that's OK.
After Bush plunked Bautista — on purpose or not (we're pretty sure it was) — things escalated, and quickly.
After Jake Diekman got Justin Smoak to hit a sharp grounder to Adrian Beltre, this happened:
Then, after all that dust settled, Prince Fielder led off the eighth inning and was hit by a first-pitch fastball into his thigh from reliever Jesse Chavez in what was the most obviously purpose pitch you'll ever see, so much so that it was laughable, even for Fielder.
Few things about all of this...
1. Rougned Odor will be suspended, and possibly for a long time. He could be looking at three games or he could be looking at 10. It's hard to say. One thing that'll be interesting is if he gets the higher end of that because of the ferocity of the blow to Bautista's jaw. I'd contend the penalty shouldn't be determined by whether the punch lands. A punch is a punch, Odor's was just an MMA style punch.
2. Bautista chiming off after the game about how the Rangers don't know how to play the game properly is just hilarious. The guy is almost universally hated throughout the game and for him to give an etiquette lesson on anything is rich.
3. If Bautista wanted to do things the right way, why not go after Bush? Why go after Odor because of what Bush did, which by the way he plainly admitted to doing after the game? Oh, possibly because Bautista didn't want a fight, especially not one with a felon who spent three years in the pen. He admitted to not seeing that punch coming, because frankly, who would? Punches like that don't happen in Major League Baseball.
4. Odor is not a saint. Is he a folk hero today? Sure, but he's far from innocent. But here's the thing, while he might be a grade-A jerk from opponents' perspective, he's the Rangers' grade-A jerk. If he played for another team, Rangers fans would hate him. Bautista is the same way. Quite simply, the Rangers' bad dude got the Blue Jays' bad dude, and it wasn't even close.
5. Odor is gonna get suspended, as we said. And whatever he gets, Blue Jays skipper John Gibbons should get the same. He was thrown out of a game, came on to the field afterward and didn't do it to diffuse things, he did it to further incite them. It was dispicable.
I think that about sums it up. There will be many things said about the brawl on both sides, and all will be tinged with pieces of merit and pieces of B.S. But one thing is for certain, that was a fight unlike one we'll see for a long time, and it was awesome.