When Bryce Harper said, “Make baseball fun again” it’s doubtful this is what he meant ….
Glorifying baseball brawls will just lead to more, likely among the kids who idolize the players involved
The Rangers lost to the Blue Jays in a heated 2015 American League Division Series. It was the same series that included Blue Jays’ outfielder Jose Bautista hitting on of the biggest and most important home runs of the postseason. After hitting that monster home run came the epic, now-infamous bat flip of legend.
The Rangers were not happy, the bat flip was highly debated and the heat between the two teams never dissipated, until it came to a head on that Sunday.
Most MLB fans enjoy a good benches-clearing brawl for it’s excitement, and the punches that are thrown but usually don’t hit their target so directly, as players are being pulled back by other screaming teammates.
The unfortunate reality of the fight between the Rangers and the Blue Jays, however, is that something not totally unprecedented but somewhat unusual happened to start it. Rangers’ second baseman Rougned Odor punched Jays’ outfielder Jose Bautista directly in the face, causing the benches to clear.
It’s unfortunate because in many places, especially Arlington, the punch thrown by Odor has been glorified. Should it be? Today’s Knuckleball’s Stephen Hunt writes that while Odor was already a fan-favorite, he’s now reached a status beyond legendary, that his “aura has reached almost mythical status.”
Even though Odor will be disciplined for his actions by the league (he is currently appealing an eight-game suspension) he is being heralded as a hero elsewhere. Is that really the message that should be being sent to the kids who look up to him, who hope to be him when they grow up? Is it right to allow them to believe that punching someone in the face is cool?
For more on Odor’s potential perks, plus other brawls and on-field misbehaving players and managers, you can read the rest of my column on Today’s Knuckleball by following the link below: