Jose Bautista and Rougned Odor started a brawl over the weekend, and one of them figures to pay an especially heavy price for it.

But don’t think for a second the other should get off easy.

Before getting into the nitty-gritty, we must first dive into the rivalry history between Bautista‘s Toronto Blue Jays and Odor’s Texas Rangers. It didn’t become a true rivalry until Game 5 of last year’s American League Division Series, which Bautista‘s three-run bomb in the seventh inning effectively ended. He responded to that with the “Bat Flip Heard ‘Round the World,” and the Rangers responded to that with anger.

Fast-forward to Sunday, when the Blue Jays and Rangers turned their rivalry into an all-out blood feud. Texas right-hander Matt Bush beaned Bautista with a hard fastball in the eighth inning, and that led to this:

All told, here’s the full sequence of relevant events:

  • Bautista flips bat, angers Rangers.
  • Months later, Rangers bean Bautista.
  • Moments later, Bautista goes into second base with a late, hard slide.
  • Seconds later, Bautista and Odor go at it.
  • Split seconds later, all hell breaks loose.

This was the real deal as far as baseball brawls go, and there will be consequences. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal reported Monday, Joe Torre, Major League Baseball’s chief baseball officer, said these consequences could come as soon as Tuesday:

“It certainly wasn’t pretty, and I hate seeing that stuff,” Torre said, per Paul Hagen of

Amen to that. Maybe baseball’s unwritten rules had a good day Sunday, but that doesn’t mean diddly as far as the optics are concerned. From Odor to Bautista to Bush to Josh Donaldson to Kevin Pillar to Russell Martin, virtually none of the Blue Jays or the Rangers looked like professionals. 

There is little question, though, that Odor is the one who’s in for the biggest punishment.

“I know I am going to be suspended for a couple of games, but I am going to keep doing what I’m doing,” the young second baseman said Monday, per T.R. Sullivan of

A couple? Try somewhere in the neighborhood of 10. And that’s if he’s lucky.

The league office isn’t going to be wrong when it concludes Odor was the brawl’s primary instigator. He was the one who made the first shove, and he was certainly the one who threw the first punch.

Jayson Stark of and Jay Jaffe of Sports Illustrated brought up Carlos Quentin’s bulldozing of Zack Greinke in 2013 as relevant precedent for Odor’s actions. That would mean an eight-game suspension. If MLB sees this as more of a Michael Barrett vs. A.J. Pierzynski situation, it’ll be 10 games. If MLB really wants to throw the book at Odor, going longer than 10 games wouldn’t be unreasonable.

For his part, the loose consensus seems to be Bautista could only get a slap on the wrist. But if MLB wants to send a proper message, it’ll be a hard slap.

There’s no condoning the violent reaction it led to, but there’s also no blaming Odor for feeling a jolt of adrenaline when Bautista came sliding into second base in that eighth inning. There are late slides, and then there are late slides.

Bautista‘s slide was in the latter camp. He admitted to Gregor Chisholm of that he was trying to “send a message” with it, and the visual evidence leaves little doubt that it was an extreme example of a purpose slide.

The right fielder’s slide was as much of a leap as it was a slide. And when he landed, he was already on the second-base bag:

Odor wasn’t hurt, but he could have been. So at the least, MLB could give Bautista the same two-game suspension it originally hit Chase Utley with for taking out Ruben Tejada in last year’s playoffs.

Or, the league could push the envelope.

Whereas Utley’s takeout slide was technically legal at the time, new rules have changed that. And to that extent, MLB could view Bautista as a repeat offender. He also committed a controversial slide against the Tampa Bay Rays in the first week of the season. As Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports noted, that slide broke both new and old rules.

This makes Bautista a good guy for MLB to make an example of. If the league really wants players to get the gist that it’s serious about getting rid of takeout slides, it won’t stop at two games for his ban.

And that’s just for the slide. Bautista didn’t land the first punch after Odor shoved him. But from the way he was cocking his right fist, he clearly wanted to:

This is not to suggest Bautista‘s hard slide and cocked fist is the same as Odor’s shove and (presumably) very painful punch. The meat of the entire incident was the fight between the two of them, and Odor started it and finished it.

But rather than a measly two-game suspension for the one slide, a punishment more befitting of Bautista‘s actions would be half of whatever Odor is hit with. That figures to be at least four games, but stretching it to five or six games wouldn’t be out of line.

Ultimately, it’s up to Torre and baseball’s head disciplinarian, Joe Garagiola Jr. There’s no question they’re pondering punishments as we speak. The only question is how far they’ll push them.


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