Blue Jays Brawl Aftermath: Winners, Losers, Heroes and Villains
Donnybrook. Brawl. The Texas Face-Punching Incident. Whatever you want to call it, yesterday’s Blue Jays-Rangers series had some good old-fashioned sports violence. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen the benches clear in a baseball game and someone landed an actual punch.
But now that the dust has finally settled on whatever it was that happened in Arlington yesterday afternoon, someone has to look back at the events and decide who won and who lost, as well as whether they’re good guys or bad guys. As an official member of the fictional Internet Baseball Morality Police, I alone will shoulder this massive burden. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the cast of winners, losers, heroes and villains, in order of appearance in the festivities:
Did Matt Bush hit Bautista intentionally? Nobody knows but him. On the Blue Jays’ television broadcast, colour commentator Pat Tabler was convinced that Bush threw at Bautista with purpose, while play-by-play man Buck Martinez found it dubious that the Rangers would put the tying run on base with nobody out. I don’t know what Bush’s intentions were, but I do know he threw a 2-0 up and in that nearly hit Josh Donaldson in the 7th inning:
So maybe his control was a little off? It’s an easy alibi and not very believable, but I’m willing to do what the courts haven’t been willing to, and give Bush the benefit of the doubt. Only because he scares me. Seriously. Dude’s seen some shit.
Winner or Loser? On the official ENS Winner/Loser Scale Matt Bush is a 10/10 winner, which is 1980s Dynasty Oilers level. Matt Bush was in prison seven months ago, and now he can throw balls at people without facing the bothersome criminal justice system. That’s absolutely a win for him, every time. He’s found a loophole and he’s loving it.
Hero or Villain? On the arbitrary Hero/Villain Scale I just made up (where 0 denotes Supervillain, 5 is Innocent Bystander and 10 is Superhero), Matt Bush is a 3.5/10, or a Wild Card with a Checkered Past. It’s true he (indirectly) supplied the fuel for the fire Bautista was about to start, but you can’t say for sure he wanted to hit Bautista. Like Bush himself said: “It’s baseball, so, crazy things happen in this game.”
Also: please don’t hurt me, Matt. Please, please, please don’t assault me.
One person’s intentions in this brouhaha were very clear: Joey Bats’. There is no doubt that he was trying to hurt Rougned Odor. Maybe Odor had it coming (he did, more on that soon). Maybe Bautista is just a loose-cannon cop who plays by his own rules (he is, and it’s mostly awesome). But Bautista definitely tried to get some revenge. And he got revenged right back. So dang hard. In the face.
Winner or Loser? Jose took a big L in the face. He also got bear-hugged by Adrian Beltre for the entirety of the brawl after Odor clocked him. Beltre even walked Bautista away from the fight while wearing him like one of those baby carrier things. This was probably a good idea because I don’t know if Jose was able to stand up after wearing that right hook. Just look at this:
Feel free to fight your own battles, Jose, and not have to have your team and Adrian Beltre save you. Even Brandon McCarthy threw some shade at Bautista:
was Bautista winding up to tickle him? https://t.co/4QxFbxqM3n
— Brandon McCarthy (@BMcCarthy32) May 15, 2016
Tough day for Jose. He gets a score of Cleveland Browns here. 1/10.
Hero or Villain? From a completely unbiased position, Bautista comes off like a real asshole for going at Odor. But being unbiased is not what we’re about at ENS. Joey Bats is a Stone Cold Hero. Let me remind you why:
Today knocks him down a point to 9/10.
I wonder where Bautista learned such a reckless play. Could it have been from Rougned himself?
— keithlaw (@keithlaw) October 3, 2015
Maybe Bautista wanted to show Rougned that he’s a fan of his craft. Who knows?
One thing is for certain, though. Rougned Odor is no saint.
Winner or Loser? We’re here to talk about the brawl and aftermath, so it’s undeniable that Odor is a clear winner. Odor escaped injury on the slide then hit Bautista so hard that Bautista’s descendants will feel the sting of that punch for generations. I hate to admit it, but Rougned is a winner today in the same class as Michael Phelps. 11/10.
Hero or Villain? He’s a little shit, though. Which is why he gets the distinction of Mid-Level Video Game Boss. I feel like he could be beat if he didn’t have the benefit of surprise on his side. 3/10. Take it away, Marcus Stroman:
Zero respect for Odor. Never had respect for him, never will.
— Marcus Stroman (@MStrooo6) May 15, 2016
Adrian Beltre was the dad of the brawl. He’s 37, and he’s too old for this shit. Carrying Bautista to safety was a very responsible, dad-like thing to do.
Winner or Loser? It’s really a no-contest since he didn’t really participate in the fight, but I think he came out of the brawl looking pretty good. Let’s give him a 6.9/10 for Being #Nice.
Hero or Villain? He really acted as Bautista’s legs and shield after the dugouts cleared, so I have to give him a rating of Everyday Good Samaritan. That’s good for a 7/10.
ALL OF THE TEXAS RANGERS
Everyone is hung up on the Rangers waiting until Bautista’s last at-bat of the series in the teams’ last meeting of the regular season to plunk him. I don’t really get why that’s such a huge deal. The timing of the retaliation for something–especially a silly unwritten rule–shouldn’t matter.
Not only that, but the Rangers put the tying run on base for the Jays and gave them a chance to hit back by winning the sport which they were playing, but instead Bautista lost his cool and tried to settle a personal score. I actually kind of admire the Rangers’ boldness in picking this time to plunk Bautista, as it made the Blue Jays completely forget a baseball game was happening, and resulted in a Rangers win.
But still, the reason the Rangers were so mad in the first place was because one of their shitty pitchers threw a shitty pitch seven months ago and gave up a monster home run which resulted in an iconic baseball moment. Grow up.
Winners or Losers? Hahahahaha, fuck these guys. They lost to the Jays when it mattered last October so they’re losers until they win when it counts. 3/10 for this group of butt-hurt jerks. This was very Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes of them.
Heroes or Villains? Obviously, these guys are Cartoonishly Devious Supervillain. They found a way to win the game and piss the Jays off royally. Truly impressive. 0/10.
KEVIN PILLAR, JOSH DONALDSON AND RUSSELL MARTIN
These guys saw their teammate take a shot right in the kisser and they stormed in to let the Rangers know they had his back. They’re all hard to spot in the melee, but once you see them, you can’t help but admire their reckless abandon. Gold stars for all three of them.
Winners or Losers? They didn’t necessarily win this battle, but they definitely sent the message that this war isn’t over. They also won the important battle in October. 7/10. This was a Bad Boys-era Pistons performance.
Heroes or Villains? These three might as well have been wearing capes. Them swooping in to defend their teammate was Superman-esque. 10/10.
Who is the hatless gentlemen in the above photo, you ask? The one with the fresh wound on his cheek? Why, that’s noted fun-hater Sam Dyson. Somehow he ends up being the only person in the whole fracas to bleed. Hahahahaha. This guy is the worst.
Winner or Loser? Sam Dyson is the 2006-present Oilers, which is a -2/10 on the Winner/Loser Scale. He is a textbook loser and will always be one.
Hero or Villain? In this scenario, Sam Dyson is a child chasing his bouncing ball into oncoming traffic, which is a 4.5/10. He was an unaware entity who caused a nuisance by throwing himself into danger. Someone get him out of there before he gets hurt!
Gibbons was actually ejected earlier in the game, and a as a result, was not supposed to be in the Blue Jays’ dugout. However, that didn’t stop him from running onto the field when the teams started brawling. Which leads me to this actual quote from his post-game press conference (entire interview viewable here):
Yeah, oh y’know, that’s my team out there, y’know, you don’t wanna sit here and drink too much wine. Y’know, you gotta go out there. […] I’m sure the league will say something about that, but y’know that’s kind of the manager’s responsibility I thought.
Unreal. Gibby’s just sitting in the clubhouse hammering back some wine (I like to think it was boxed wine because that seems like his style) and then hears a commotion and darts on to the field. What a guy.
Winner or Loser? Gibbons gives me the impression of a senile man who has no idea what’s going on 95% of the time. I have to put him squarely in the middle of the scale at 5/10 for that reason. Watch any of his pressers and you’ll see that he’s absolutely out to lunch.
Hero or Villain? John Gibbons is the Town Drunk. The above quote confirms it. He just kind of wanders around aimlessly, providing some comic relief to the good versus evil story. 6/10.
Everything had calmed down. The Jays could let this all go and hope the rest of the game goes by without incident (pfff, as if), or they can fire back at the Rangers. Jesse Chavez holds the ball, knowing that this is his chance. His chance to gain his new teammates’ respect. His chance to show the Rangers that his team won’t roll over and die. His chance…..to do something truly heroic. Here’s how that turned out:
Winner or Loser? Look at Prince Fielder’s face immediately after he gets hit. He literally laughs Chavez off the field. Embarrassing for Jesse. 1/10. For those of you who are keeping track, that’s on par with the Winnipeg Thrashers.
Hero or Villain? You know in the beginning of The Incredibles, when the little redheaded kid is trying to be a superhero and he fucks everything up? This is that. Chavez’s intentions were good, but he came out looking like an idiot. Idiot kid from The Incredibles. That’s a 4/10 for Jesse Chavez.
If the Rangers’ intention was to not let Bautista have the last laugh, they certainly achieved that. Because Prince Fielder had the last laugh here. Literally. “You hit me with a 93 mph fastball? Do you know who I am? Have you seen me?” Prince bodybagged Chavez with a simple smile and wave.
Winner or Loser? Prince Fielder is the unquestioned winner of the day. Sure, Odor cold-cocked Bautista. But Fielder emotionally destroyed Jesse Chavez without throwing a punch. Prince Fielder is the champion of champions, GRAVEDIGGEERRRRRRR. RIP, Jesse Chavez. 12/10 for Prince.
Hero or Villain? Fielder’s actions are that of a Shiny Golden God. He would make Gandhi proud, as he ended this conflict with a simple smile. He will no doubt add yesterday to his already impressive resume, which includes his many displays of pristine athleticism, such as this:
If that’s not a hero, I don’t know what is. 12/10.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST: US, THE FANS
I think Fangraph’s Jeff Sullivan put it best:
nothing like an impromptu sports fight to remind you that behind a thin veneer of civility every last one of us is a bloodthirsty monster
— Jeff Sullivan (@based_ball) May 16, 2016
Winner or Loser? We are all winners for having witnessed this. 10/10
Hero or Villain? Again, this is easy. All of us, sitting on our couches and staring at screens, we are all superheroes of the highest order. Let another musician who was taken before his time emphasize this 10/10: