If you’re a baseball fan chances are you heard about a little incident in Arlington over the weekend. The Blue Jays vs Rangers series featuring two clubs expected to contend for the American League pennant is enough to attract an audience from outside both fan bases.
The history behind last year’s ugly finish to the ALDS matchup between both clubs seemed to be stuck in the past, even though several stories had been written about the issue of bat flipping since Jose Bautista’s 7th inning home run in Game 5 started a tense moment with both teams.Bautista’s Game 5 HR
Just when you thought things had dissipated between the two teams (no fights in five games played this season), the fuel was added to the flames when a recently-called up pitcher made an impact on his club.
Matt Bush, a former No. 1 overall pick, had just stepped onto the pitching mound’s runner in a big league stadium for the first time ever during the series after serving nearly three years in prison for a drunken driving accident.Matt Bush’s Journey
Now there have been discussions throughout the week about whether Bush was ordered to hit Bautista. After having he’s been through that’s an issue I don’t wish to discuss now. You can decide for yourself by checking out the link above.
Only up 7-6 it appeared that the Rangers were given Bush a chance to become the team’s closer by taking on the heart of the Blue Jays lineup, which is arguably one of the most dangerous lineups MLB has ever seen. The first man he’ll face no one other than Rangers Public Enemy No. 1 Jose Bautista.
One pitch later and all hell broke lose. Batista hit by Bush
Bush hit Bautista in the ribs on the first pitch putting the tying run at the plate. Bush was pulled right after the plunking, and not a moment too soon. One routine ground ball two batters later and the flipped bat is revisited. Bautista’s hard slide into second if intentional had a reason to be, just as Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor had the reason to hit Bautista with a cross that would make Floyd Mayweather cringe. Both players felt threatened which prompted both to act the way all men do when threatened: violence and aggression.
But the Rangers are completely acting immature for a professional club.
Is there one play in all of sports that shows one player completely dominating the other? There isn’t one. A baseball player crushing a 98 mph fastball into the stands to win a game, a running back bulldozing through a linebacker into the end zone, a basketball player posterizing another on a dunk, all three of these are examples of when somebody should be pumped up during a sports contest.
But when Michael Jordan leaped in the air and pumped his fist after hitting a game winning shot against Cleveland in the 1989 NBA playoffs, and when the entire 1980 U.S. men’s hockey team celebrated on the ice after captain Mike Eruzione put the team ahead of the mighty Soviet Union with 10 minutes to play did their opponents cause a scene of anger and jealousy? No because those men earned the right to celebrate their role in one of the greatest moments in sports history.
As far as bat flipping goes in baseball, is it no different than a pitcher pumping his fist after getting a big strikeout or his teammates making a big play to get out of a rough inning? No they’re excited like the fans are, but if for instance bat flipping gets to the point that the bats go flying into the stands and injuring fans than it should be made illegal.
Fans pay to see athletes get paid an enormous amount of money to play a game they played growing up or grew fond of. They don’t pay to see robots on the field show no emotion or excitement about playing a game, not being paid to risk their lives overseas where people have died in military battles.
The Rangers have to understand they have a right as every team does to celebrate the great moments they achieve during a 162-game plus season (if lucky). Celebrate your moments like when you had the heart of the Blue Jays lineup batting in the 8th inning and shut them down leading to a series victory over a team that ended your season.
Now all sports fans will remember from that series is a hard slide at second, a hit batter and a runner being taken down by one of the best punches fight fans will ever see. Does that sound like baseball, America’s favorite pastime to you?