The KC Royals were expected to brawl with Mets starter Noah Syndergaard on opening day after his Game 3 chin music aimed at Kansas City Royals leadoff hitter Alcides Escobar.
The ensuing lack of drama between the Mets and KC Royals showed that baseball culture can change. No longer do hit batsmen necessarily touch off beanball wars filled with retaliation and bench clearing brawls.
Now we come to yesterday’s punch-out of Toronto’s Jose Bautista by Texas second baseman Rougned Odor. This brawl came about due to bitterness over Bautista’s infamous bat flip from the 2015 American League DIvision Series between the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers.
The Rangers appeared poised to eliminate the Blue Jays in Game 5 of the ALDS seizing a 3-2 lead in the top of the seventh inning when Toronto catcher Russell Martin hit batter Shin-Soo Choo with the ball while attempting to throw the ball back to his pitcher after a pitch. Roughed Odor scored from third base on the play.
Toronto tied the score in the bottom of the inning after the Rangers committed three errors and Josh Donaldson singled home the tying run. Then Jose Bautista blasted a three-run home run to give the Blue Jays a commanding 6-3 lead.
Instead of immediately going into his home run trot, Bautista flipped his bat and admired his shot as Toronto’s Rogers Centre exploded with emotion.
Et oh. Baseball traditionalists had a cow. They screamed that Bautista was showing up the Rangers. Retired Phillie great, and MLB Hall-Of-Famer, Mike Schmidt called it flagrant disrespect.
You can see the play below:
Was Bautista out of line? Was he showing up the Texas Rangers with his bat flip?
Next: Enforcing Baseball's Traditional Culture