Talk about a mean right hook.
The Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers got into a heated baseball brawl on Sunday after Jays outfielder Jose Bautista went hard on a slide into second base.
Rangers infielder Rougned Odor did not like the slide by Bautista—which was late and technically illegal based on the new rules for the 2016 season—and opted to take things into his own hands. Odor had some words for Bautista after the slide, gave him a shove, and then connected with a perfect punch to Bautista’s cheek that knocked the sunglasses right off Bautista’s face:
After the punch, Bautista was held back by other players, but that didn’t stop teammate Josh Donaldson from trying to get involved. The third baseman went after Odor, and he ended up taking a punch to the face from the infielder:
Josh Donaldson – real American hero. pic.twitter.com/eWSkwUdKo5
— Ian Hunter (@BlueJayHunter) May 16, 2016
So how did things escalate into such a battle?
Bautista was hit by Rangers pitcher Matt Bush earlier in the inning, which set the wheels in motion, but the nexus of that incident goes all the way back to last season when the two teams faced off in the playoffs.
Bautista hit a huge home run against Texas last year in the American League Division Series, flipping his bat in epic fashion after doing so—something that the Rangers took major offense to then, and they clearly are still not happy about it now.
Adding fuel to the fire was the fact that the two teams will not play again this season unless they meet in the playoffs—meaning this could have been the last shot for the Rangers to hit Bautista.
The Blue Jays outfielder had the perfect response to the whole ordeal, saying to ESPN: “I was pretty surprised. 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 little bit bigger man to knock me down.”
Hopefully these teams face off in the playoffs so we all can see Round 2 of Bautista-Odor.