Over the past day or so, we’ve learned a lot about the Rangers, and their feelings on Jose Bautista. Apparently, Joey Bats has pissed off the Rangers organization so much that management is content with hitting him intentionally for something he did last October.You could say that rookie Matt Bush instigated Sunday’s brawl, since he hit Bautista with a blatantly intentional pitch, which led to Bautista’s hard slide, which led to Rougned Odor throwing punches, but that doesn’t really make sense. Why would Matt Bush, a 30-year old rookie, be going after Bautista intentionally? Considering that Bush wasn’t even playing for Texas when this rivalry started, I find it a stretch to say he’s to blame. Matt Bush literally debuted a day before this incident occurred, so as they say: don’t kill the messenger.
Jeff Bannister is most likely the man that decided Bautista would be getting hit by a pitch, but things were squared away at that point. Though he wasn’t happy, Bautista didn’t seem all that surprised when they hit him, and he took his base.
From the look of it, Bautista was taking his frustration out during his slide into second base. Had he made solid contact with Rougned Odor on that slide, we’d probably be looking at another Chase Utley/Ruben Tejada incident. Thankfully, Odor’s leg isn’t broken. Yet instead of letting the league punish Bautista for the slide (not that I’m saying they should have), Odor took things literally into his own hands, and started throwing punches. If there is one person in particular that is to blame for Sunday’s brawl, it is Rougned Odor. It was his pitcher that hit Bautista, and there was actually little-to-no contact on the slide, so Odor’s decision to swing at Bautista was clearly his own, and done out of frustration.
Once Rougned Odor put his hands on Bautista, the field became a warzone. This had nothing to do with Unwritten Rules, race, or anything of that sort. Sunday’s brawl had to do with the fact that the Rangers team, as a whole, has an extreme disliking for Jose Bautista, and they have not gotten over the bat flip. Kevin Pillar got in the mix, as did Josh Donaldson and Adrian Beltre. Once you see your guy get hit, your instincts tell you to get involved. Blame Jeff Bannister if you want, or blame Rougned Odor for throwing punches. Hell, if you want, you can blame Bautista for flipping his bat seven months ago. I think it’s pretty clear that Odor is the one that escalated the situation, but not everyone is going to agree with me.