Let the suspension parade begin! Rougned Odor — who, LOL, apparently believes he was acting in self defence when he clocked Jose Bautista’s iron jaw on Sunday, and has a history of being kind of a shitheel — gets eight games for his part in the ol’ fricasee that went down at Globe Life Park, according to a tweet from Jon Heyman of CBS.
He will, reportedly, appeal.
That’s less than I’d have given him, but seems a completely typical slap on the wrist from a league that obviously doesn’t have any genuine interest in ridding itself of this kind of on-field behaviour in any sort of meaningful sense. And given the way this incident has blown up in the national consciousness both here and in the States, you can almost not even blame them. Almost, that is, until you think about what happens the next time a player, undeterred by the piddling suspensions meted out for hucking a hardball 90mph at an opponent, misses with his purpose pitch, or just gets plain nasty, and ends up seriously injuring someone — sort of like Marcus Stroman almost did to Caleb Joseph two years ago (but I don’t think we’re supposed to talk about that).
Or that Odor almost did to Bautista.
Seriously, a punch not too much higher, and not too much harder, could have done legitimate damage to that multi-million dollar batting eye. It could have been a huge loss to not only his wallet, but the Jays’ season, and to the game of baseball itself.
Not that I want to be too much of a Pollyanna about all this. There are risks inherent to the game, and probably to any game that’s played with such high stakes, high emotion, and in such a charged environment as under the lights of a stadium full of cheering fans. And through this all I’ve been trying to be honest enough to admit that I sure did find the whole thing just a little bit fun as fuck. I wish I didn’t, and I wish there weren’t any kinds of risk associated with playing any sport at any level, but I did and there are. And yet, that doesn’t absolve Odor from accountability for his choices, and that being the case, I don’t understand how in the hell eight games can be enough.
I don’t understand how two or three games for a reliever who intentionally throws at a guy — whose team can manipulate it to make him unavailable for at least one of those days anyway — or pushing a starter back a day or two for it makes any sense, either. But such is the strange world of baseball “justice.”
And stranger it will get, I suspect, as news of other suspensions start to trickle in.
We know, as of the time of this writing, that John Gibbons will get three games for returning to the field after having already been ejected, which is a pretty cut and dried rule, so there can’t really be much squawking over that.
I will update this post as more news becomes available…
Update the first
Shi Davidi tweets that there will be no suspension for Josh Donaldson, who you may recall having jump-tackled Odor in retaliation for punch, which was in retaliation for the slide, which was in retaliation for the plunking, which was in retaliation for the bat flip/haunting Elvis Andrus’s nightmares. That’s… uh… sure!
I mean… no games for Donaldson is obviously a good thing for the Jays, and the league appears, by this, to be saying that Odor started it. Cutting some slack to guys racing in to help a teammate seems to make some sense, unless we think too hard about what their intentions were.
Update the second
Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets that the only other Rangers suspension will be one game for Elvis Andrus, who, somewhere in the course of this pecan pie, took a swing at Kevin Pillar. (Andrus, Wilson eventually adds, will not appeal and will serve his suspension tonight against Oakland.)
Meanwhile, Pillar, who came whirling in to Bautista’s aid, but didn’t do anything that resembled punch-throwing, won’t get anything, according to a Shi Davidi tweet. Pillar will, however, get fined $5,000. Donaldson gets $1,000 for his troubles.
I suppose we’re seeing what MLB is doing here. Don’t get punchy, is the message. To an extent, of course! Unless it’s with the opposing bullpen catcher, in which case maybe it’s OK entirely — or so says someone on my Twitter feed, who insists that Sam Dyson sucker punched Jason Phillips, which… I certainly didn’t see that, but there was a whole lot going on, so it’s entirely possible I missed it.
Or maybe it’s just that MLB didn’t particularly want to go through the video of the entire tumult like it’s fuckin’ the Zapruder film. I can’t blame them for that. I mean, if you’re going to shittily hand out suspensions that will do zero to stop the next incident of frontier justice in the game, why be anything but half-assed about it?
Update the third
Shi tweets that it “sounds like” three games for Jesse Chavez for throwing at Prince Fielder, which is actually two games, because — as I said above — they’ll almost certainly wait until a point when they’ve used him on back-to-back days, then drop their appeal.
It is, of course, uh… maybe not the worst thing to have Chavez unavailable for a few games at this point. *COUGH*
Update the fourth
And now the big one: Jose Bautista will get a one game suspension for his role in the B.A. Baracus, according to a tweet from Chris Cotillo. That’s… not going to make Rangers fans very happy — which, LOL, fuck ’em — and points to MLB believing that, whether his intentionally hard (and illegal) slide was what escalated all this or not, what was most wrong in all this was the stuff that was flagrantly outside the boundaries of the game — the Odor and Andrus punches — or what the umpires had already made clear they would not abide — the Chavez pitch or Gibbons re-entering the field of play.
Fair? I dunno. Blue Jays fans will be happier than Rangers fans, I’m sure, and MLB will get to feel that they’ve at least done something here. But when you look at the things the league takes seriously — or at least feels some kind of obligation to claim to take seriously — like their PED suspensions or recent ones for off-field domestic violence, I think they’re sending a pretty clear message about what they really think of Odor shoving Bautista, taking a step back, and with that moment to think, still clocking him right in the damn beard.
I don’t think it’s a good message, but I guess it’s going to have to take someone to get actually hurt by the retaliatory violence the game implicitly condones before many fans — and most importantly, the league — sees it that way.
Rangers Suspensions: Odor (8 games), Andrus (1).
Blue Jays Suspensions: Gibbons and Chavez (3 games), Bautista (1).