Don’t Mess With Texas
The slide was dirty.
It wasn’t a sucker punch.
Rougned Odor was rightfully ejected and should be suspended.
Throwing at Prince Fielder was cheap. Fielder laughing at it was hilarious.
This will sound a little weird, but I don’t like fighting that much. Strange I know, since I’m a big pro wrestling/sports entertainment fan and I’ve been known to take in a compelling UFC event. Yet that feels controlled, agreed upon, and in the former’s case predetermined. Everyone knows the score when they get in their ring or Octagon. It feels noble, or at least as noble as two people using their body as a weapon against one another can.
As the Jays and Rangers began to scrap my reaction was excitement, but not happy excitement. It was this odd mix of panic and confusion. I was worried in the immediate sense, concerned about the players. Then once that died down, the excitement shifted into one more befitting men and lions in the coliseum, not Oakland’s.
Which if we’re all being honest isn’t what baseball should be, but was on this unforgettable Sunday.
Nobody will forget Odor, the so-called hero of the day. His right cross has already been shared, liked, discussed, and immortalized via the Internet. In the space of a few seconds, he went from beloved agitator to Rangers folk hero. You’ll remember where you were when Odor decked Jose Bautista. It’s like when Tyson got dropped by Douglas.
A weird yet true thing to say about a baseball game.
Nobody will forget Bautista, who became for all the world a clown. First with the aforementioned dirty slide with which he said he chose not to injure Odor with, but he wants you to know he could have. Then getting KO’d and carried off by someone who he should probably thank in Adrian Beltre. Beltre did him the favor of pulling him away from a man who, when he was a teenager, fought four different people at once.Oddly enough, they were members of the Vancouver Canadians, the Blue Jays short-season affiliate.
Baseball’s funny like that.
Nobody will forget Beltre pulling back Bautista to keep him from getting sent to the infield mat, Josh Donaldson leaping into the crowd of Rangers only to barely miss getting an overhand punch from Odor, Jeff Banister and the previously ejected John Gibbons jawing as they both went back to their dugouts, Jesse Chavez hitting Fielder once play resumed with Fielder literally laughing it off at home plate, and the ensuing celebration once Texas took home a 7-6 win that would have felt victorious even if had they gone on to lose.
Apologies to Matt Bush, who will be remembered for the pitch that ignited the blaze of brawls but not for earning his first career win in his second big league appearance. Same to you Ian Desmond, who was right in the middle of the fracas and admitted to being worked up in post game interviews. Your three-run homer will likely fall by the wayside. I promise it was important, though. Couldn’t have won the game without it.
There are plenty of negative things you can say about the happenings Sunday. It is a bit of a shame that baseball has fallen down the national radar so far it takes one man punching another in the face to get the full spotlight in May. It brought out the worst in some people, including the one podcaster who decided that comparing Odor’s punch to Bush’s hit and run accident that almost killed a man and put Bush in prison was wise. The backward talk from Bautista, Gibbons, Donaldson and others post game made them look like, pardon the simple language, butt hurt buffoons doing their best to make sure nobody knew they were on the losing end. They were Monty Python’s Black Knight, vociferously declaring it was just a flesh wound to anyone with a microphone.
You lost a fight, guys. It happens.
What it did do however was bring together a fan base that is often splintered. For a small bit of time, debates and wild hyperbole about Shawn Tolleson, Fielder, and other various things were set aside. In a world where the collective viewing experience of big events is ruined by DVRs, the donnybrook unified a group of people behind a single person and single act.
One Rangers Nation, under Odor, with victories and closed fists for all (Blue Jays).
It wasn’t about the bat flip; that’s old news.
Don’t let the national media tell you it was.
Don’t believe Toronto about Texas having no leadership.
They’re led by a never quitting survivor of things way tougher than baseball. Cancer, family death, and being told he’s never going to make it to the big leagues are scarier than a six foot Dominican outfielder with a glass jaw and Titanic mouth.
He defeated them all. Likely would defeat Bautista if he were dumb enough to try him.
I doubt he is.
He tried Rougie, though.
So who knows.
I hope this is the last time I get to write about something like this. I much prefer writing about explosive home runs, outstanding pitching, and how a team can trade for that one piece to put them over the top.
At least when these two teams scrapped, this time, the fans didn’t throw trash on the field.
Don’t Mess with Texas worked on the Ranger faithful Sunday it seems.
We know it worked on Jose Bautista.