Toronto Blue Jays star Jose Bautista may still be a little shell-shocked from having his bell rung by Texas Rangers infielder Rougned Odor a couple of weeks ago, but Bautista thinks Odor may have been looking for a fight that afternoon.
“Was [Odor] out to play baseball that day? Maybe partly,” Bautista told Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated. “Part of me also thinks that he was looking for a fight.”
Bautista also stands by his belief Odor was trying to hit him in the face with a relay throw to first base.
“I’ve been playing baseball for a long time,” Bautista said. “I know exactly what he was trying to do when he threw the ball. He tried a hundred percent to hit me in the face. And it’s not the first time he’s done it against me or some of my teammates. And there’s video to prove that.”
Odor socked Bautista in the face after the Blue Jays’ MVP took a hard slide into second base. Emotions from last season’s postseason matchup between the Blue Jays and Rangers meant a powder keg was just waiting to be lit this season, and that’s exactly what happened following Bautista’s hard slide, which the Toronto slugger admitted was a response from being hit by a pitch earlier in the inning. Bautista says there was no harm intended with the slide, and he even suggested he tried to take a clean hard slide.
“I could have hit him,” Bautista said of Odor. “I could have hurt him. I chose not to. My cleats were down. I slid through the bag. Was it late? Yes, a hundred percent. But what can I do after they hit me?”
Well, there are a number of alternatives for Bautista, of course. Perhaps write some poetry expressing your displeasure with being hit by a baseball. Or maybe send some shade on Twitter. We could go on, but we won’t waste any more time on this one.
Eventually, we hope, there will come a day or a week when this fight will no longer be discussed. There is hardly any more pulp to squeeze out of this story.