By Mark S. McDonald
The right guy … the right recipient … the right time … the right hook.
“Gutless,” Blue Jays Manager John Gibbons called the Rangers’ role in the Sunday dust-up and bean-ball exchange. Nationally, the airways are clogged with moral outrage over the Rangers waiting until the 8th inning of their final regular season series with the Jays to retaliate for Jose Bautista’s playoff bat-flip and rooster preening last autumn.
Tsk-tsk. Boys will be boys, and anybody who doesn’t understand good, old country hardball, is not paying attention or needs to check for testosterone leakage. Ranger infielder Rougned Odor and his manager Jeff Banister seemingly have no issues with their hormone levels.
Both were bounced by umpires, for transgressions real (Odor’s right cross to the jaw of Bautista) and perceived (Banister for ostensibly ordering Matt Bush to plunk Bautista with a pitch to the ribs).
Got no problem with Bautista’s late and dirty slide at second base. Got no problem with Odor protecting himself with the immediate response of a light heavyweight.
I do, however, wonder why Gibbons was whining. In the bottom half of the same inning, the Jays got to extract their pound of flesh, later hitting Ranger batter Prince Fielder.
All told, I found the events to be wholly satisfying. Bautista is one of the most polarizing figures in baseball, but tell me you wouldn’t want his stick in the middle of your lineup.
Both clubs are likely contenders for the playoffs. Rematch, anyone?