A benches-clearing fracas ensued in Arlington, Texas in the eighth inning of Sunday’s series finale between the Blue Jays and Rangers. The two clubs aren’t the best of friends after Jose Bautista‘s infamous bat flip, but the peace had been kept in the six previous meetings between the two teams this season.
That changed on Sunday. Rangers pitcher Matt Bush hit Bautista with a fastball and that earned both teams a warning. Later in the inning, against Jake Diekman, Justin Smoak hit an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play. Bautista, who has already been on the wrong end of a slide into second base, slid late into Rougned Odor. Odor was not happy about it, so he took a few swings at Bautista. One of the punches hit Bautista square in the jaw, sending the outfielder’s sunglasses flying off of his face. Both benches emptied and chaos ensued.
Here’s the video:
[mlbvideo id=”700996283″ width=”600″ height=”336″ /]
The next inning, Blue Jays pitcher Jesse Chavez drilled Prince Fielder with a first-pitch fastball and immediately walked towards the dugout, knowing he would be ejected. The benches emptied again but peace was more quickly restored.
As mentioned in the first post on the subject, Odor, Bautista, Bush, and Jesse Chavez are likely looking at fines and possible suspensions.
Marcus Stroman tweeted during the game that he has “zero respect” for Odor and “never will.”
Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.
The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.
The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.
In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.