No, Jose Bautista Didn’t Have it Coming All Along

Jose Bautista is a polarizing baseball player. People either love him or loathe him. After his bat flip in Game 5 of the ALDS, fans are fairly divided when it comes to Joey Bats.

Not surprisingly, people are also divided on Jose Bautista and Rougned Odor’s dust-up over the weekend as well. Depending on whom you ask, some say Bautista had it coming all along. Others say Odor’s actions were completely unwarranted.

No, Jose Bautista did not have it coming. He didn’t deserve to get punched in the face in the middle of a Major League Baseball game. To be honest, nobody really does.


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I think that’s what I have the most trouble with; that some are celebrating the fact that Rougned Odor not only shoved Jose Bautista, but then he clocked him and proceeded to hit him a few more times before someone could intervene.

Bautista didn’t see it coming … but you want to know why? Because he wasn’t looking for a fight; clearly, Rougned Odor was.

Not to get all sanctimonious about being a parent, but Jose Bautista has two young daughters at home. Would he really want them to see him throwing punches on the baseball field? I very much doubt it. It’s a horrible example to set, and as a father myself, it was troubling to see that fight take place.

Jose Bautista is a wise man … he does things with purpose. He knows how to push people’s buttons and how to get a reaction, but that’s hardly deserving of being assaulted.

How many times has Jose Bautista been thrown at by the Baltimore Orioles and he’s simply taken his base? If we used the Rougned Odor rationale of thinking, he’d charge the mound every time he was thrown at.

Bautista doesn’t do that and never has done that. He’s simply answered with his bat, not his fist.

I absolutely despise how Rougned Odor is being lauded as some sort of “hero” for his actions. Odor claimed he was “standing up for himself” … standing up for what, exactly? Bautista sliding into second base? Last time I checked, slides into second are commonplace in baseball.

Odor himself is guilty of making plenty of questionable slides over the years, ones that were bar more barbaric than Bautista’s.

And some are saying Jose Bautista could’ve diffused the situation by simply heading off the field after his slide into the bag. Bautista wasn’t looking for a fight; he was probably shocked that he nearly had his head taken off with the throw by Odor.


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Wouldn’t you do something similar if you almost got thrown at in the head?

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In what universe does a human being deserve to get punched on a baseball field … ever? Since when did this suddenly devolve to using violence to settling things? Aren’t guys like Rougned Odor better than that?

Sure, you may not agree with Jose Bautista’s bat flip. You may not like how he conducts himself on the field. But in no way does that ever give somebody a reason to physically harm the man. If that’s the way disputes were solved on the field, games would look a lot more like Bars Wars on the NES.

Also, how could Rougned Odor justify his actions when he was the one who approached Jose Bautista and instigated the entire thing? Odor single-handedly escalated things when they had absolutely no reason to be brought to that level.

Plenty of former and current players are standing in support of Odor and somehow insinuating that Bautista was asking to get punched. Again, this hearkens back to Bautista being a polarizing player, and others planting their flagpole on either side of the bat flip debate.


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But really, why did this even need to get to this level between the Blue Jays and the Rangers? It was mishandled in every way imaginable, and the way things transpired almost made it seem like this brawl was inevitable from the onset of the series in Texas.

Whether the Rangers want to admit it or not … this all stemmed from the Game 5 bat flip last October. They’ve been harbouring anger for seven months and were simply waiting for an excuse to go after Bautista. When he slid hard into second base, that’s all the Rangers needed to justify attacking Bautista.

This all had very little to do with Jose Bautista’s hard slide into second base, because that was hardly a “dirty slide” into the bag, as Bautista could’ve done much, much worse under the circumstances. The scope of this is much larger than one slide into second.

In many ways, I feel like that fight between Jose Bautista and Rougned Odor was a metaphor for the battle between baseball purists and the modern era of baseball. Odor stood up for “playing the game the right way” and Bautista represented “the new hope”.

This incident has revealed there’s still a large divide in the game … as there is a certain subset that believes Rougned Odor was in the right and Jose Bautista was in the wrong.

If anything, MLB needs to protect players like Jose Bautista more than ever. Stars like Jose Bautista, Bryce Harper and Yasiel Puig are cultivating a brand new fan base amongst baseball; MLB must allow these players to be themselves and not fear upsetting others with their actions.

Unless players are showing blatant disrespect for others, there’s no way their actions should ever be deserving of a punch or a kick. That’s an asinine and barbaric way of policing the game, and it has no place in baseball anymore.

Image via Getty Images/Ronald Martinez

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

6 thoughts on “No, Jose Bautista Didn’t Have it Coming All Along

  • May 17, 2016 at 6:39 pm
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    This whole thing was deliberate. The goal was to seriously hurt Bautista to get revenge for the Game 5 Bat Flip. It was also done during his last at bat against the Rangers this season, in order to avoid retaliation from the Jays (Injuries to Rangers Players). Too many coincidences, the Rangers organization is Dirty.

    1. Throw a 97 MPH heater not far from his head. (potential for serious injury)

    2. Put Matt Bush out there to do it. If Bautista takes exception, he’s fighting one of the most dangerous people in Professional Sports (Psychopath) who just got out of prison for 3.5 years. (potential for serious injury)

    3. If no fight occurred, Jose will be sliding hard into 2nd should a ball be hit in the infield. This is Odor’s chance to throw the Double Play turn directly at Bautista’s face. His throw was a Joke. Bautista never touched him. (potential for serious injury)

    4. If Jose isn’t hurt yet, the hard slide will justify a brawl (well, this year at least), so Odor comes out swinging with the intent to injure Bautista. He’s a Hot Head, has a history of physical altercations, & a mean right hook. (Potential for serious injury)

    5. Finally, Jose did get rung by a sucker punch, but even without it, let’s say Jose knocked out Odor. Bautista is now in the middle of the field with 9 Rangers that can get to him before any Blue Jay. (Again, potential for serious injury)

    Jose is very lucky not to be more injured than he is considering the true circumstances of the situation orchestrated by the Rangers. I’ll leave the rest up to the BASEBALL GODS.

    Reply
    • May 18, 2016 at 5:52 pm
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      100 percent correct that that was planned. None of the media had picked up on how well planned it was and some are stupid enough to say it was just about the slide into second. Odor had already planned to punch Bautista in the face after he lowbridged him with that throw. They set the bait for Bautista and Bautista took it

      Reply
  • May 18, 2016 at 3:24 pm
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    If the punch had taken place anywhere but on a baseball field it would have constituted assault. Assault is assault regardless of where it takes place. Disgusting behaviour by Odor.

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  • May 18, 2016 at 5:46 pm
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    I am shocked how many former players are cheering on odor. The guy is a dangerous hothead. And it was assault. This won’t be the last time odor gets in a fight. Next time his opponent will know about his right hand and prepare accordingly. If that would have been a jays player that punched someone like that I would have been ashamed. Texas fans are delighted that he assaulted someone. That tells you something right there.

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  • May 18, 2016 at 7:52 pm
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    What about the unwritten rule that younger players should show respect to established vets. I bet if odor clocked David Ortiz like that the city of Boston would put out a mob hit for odor. Should be no different with Bautista. How many years does odor have 2 or 3 in the bigs?

    Reply

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