Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays notes: On Odor’s punch, Bautista, new video segment

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Oct 14, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (19) reacts after hitting a three run home run during the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers in game five of the ALDS at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 14, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (19) reacts after hitting a three run home run during the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers in game five of the ALDS at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Blue Jays’ star called it “cowardly” that Texas waited until his final at-bat to hit him

Have we all calmed down?

The Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers make for must-see television, if nothing else. Sunday evening’s plunks, punches, and ejections have re-ignited everyone’s favourite conversation: the way the game is supposed to be played.

Looking beyond the fact that this incident dates back to seven-month-old hurt feelings, there is a difficult conversation to be had regarding the legitimate wrongs involved, but also how seriously an incident such as this is taken.

In the wondrous age of Twitter, which has left me hoping with dwindling optimism that the English language outlives me, volume often trumps logic. Such was the case following the game, with streams of “man up”, caveman-y, he-man takes on the fight.

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There are still ways to avoid a sucker punch to the jaw without straying from the beloved “unwritten rules”, though.

Benches clearing with small scuffles and the traditional bear hugs? Fine. But a punch to the jaw from a 22-year-old player with fewer hits than Jose Bautista has home runs? That steps well outside of what baseball is, or perhaps more importantly, what it needs to be. (And yes, I’m aware that Bautista’s right hand didn’t have the kindest intentions at the time, either).

It all calls into question, though, how seriously we treat sports. Did a bat flip and a rough slide — I won’t call it dirty, as the spikes were down and Bautista intentionally stayed low through the bag — really warrant that overreaction? Can we call it immaturity, or is this simply the result of pitting 25 alpha males against one another 162 times in a six-month span: eventually something, or someone, will crack?

This is a conversation of hard stances that aren’t likely to be persuaded across the aisle. Was Odor an embarrassment? Yes. But an embarrassment to himself is perhaps a more accurate description of the event, not an overarching, black-eye embarrassment to the game of baseball as a whole.

Like the series against the Kansas City Royals late last season, the Blue Jays can make a positive out of a mess here.

If you don’t like the other team celebrating, or flipping their bat, well… Don’t give them a reason to.

Now for something new…

We’re introducing a new video segment here at Jays Journal, [for now named…] The Blue Jays Monday Morning Mailbag.

Each week, I’ll be taking your questions and tackling a topic or two that I feel deserves a bigger piece of the Blue Jays’ conversation. This week, a few early questions trickled in and I give some ground-level advice for following minor league baseball. The farm system and minor league affiliates can be a daunting task to follow, but it’s something I encourage all Blue Jays fans to try at some small level.

The app I mention in the video above, Tune In, is you friend. So are our daily minor league recaps. While you’re at it, why not subscribe to The Jays Nest Podcast in time for tomorrow morning’s episode? I wonder what we’ll talk about…

Tweet in your questions anytime throughout the week to myself, @KeeganMatheson, or to Jays Journal directly.

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