Baltimore Orioles: A review of the unwritten codes situation

Courtesy of Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Courtesy of Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

The Baltimore Orioles have had their run-ins with Jose Bautista. But what happened on Sunday in Texas had nothing to do with them although it was serious.

The Baltimore Orioles have had their problems with Toronto’s Jose Bautista over the years. Ask Darren O’Day for one – not to mention a few other players. Luckily for the Birds, what occurred on Sunday in Texas involved Bautista, Rougned Odor, and the Texas Rangers.

We all know the history behind this incident, and we all saw what happened. In effect, it began with Bautista “pimping” a home run against Texas in last year’s post-season. Bautista was then plunked yesterday (in the final meeting between the teams for the season), and ultimately took a hard slide into Odor at second base. Odor then punched him clean in the face, causing a bench-clearing brawl.

Bautista is one of the most unpopular players among Orioles fans in recent memory. A lot of people point to Boston’s “Big Papi,” but I’m not sure even he had the amount of disdain in Baltimore that we see for Bautista. And in my view, much of that is justified. Bautista plays the game hard and with a lot of pride – which is to his credit. But he also never hesitates to show people up. And when he’s called to task for showing people up, he complains.

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  • There’s no doubt in my mind that Bautista meant to send a message (after being plunked) with the hard slide. However my personal opinion was that it wasn’t a dirty slide. I recognize that MLB is trying to legislate that type of play out of the game. However what Bautista did wasn’t dirty.

    So with that said, on paper Odor was in the wrong for punching Bautista as he did. And I suspect that MLB will come down accordingly on him (Odor). However the question is whether or not Bautista had it coming. There’s a whole litany of fans (both in and out of Baltimore) who would argue that he did. Heck, there’s also probably a group of players who silently applauded Odor for his actions.

    I suppose I would say that while the punching of Bautista was wrong and it shouldn’t have happened, it’s also a tough sell to argue that Bautista should have no expectation of someone losing it with his antics. His act is well-documented over the years – just ask the Orioles. He’s pimped numerous home runs on Darren O’Day specifically, and then looked back at him with those glaring eyes if O’Day threw at him. And that’s not the only sour relationship he has with a pitcher.

    The point here is that if you’re going to claim ignorance on baseball’s unwritten rules, that’s certainly your right. Who knows…perhaps guys like Harper down in DC will even win out and those codes will eventually go away. However for the time being, they’re “a thing.” You can violate them if you choose to do so. It’s up to you.

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    But don’t act shocked and appalled when someone throws at you. In this particular case, it was only a matter of time before someone did what Odor did to Bautista. His act is that he aims to get under the skin of opponents so as to get them off their concentration. So at some point this was probably inevitable. It just happened that this past Sunday was “the day.”

    Was Odor in the wrong to do what he did to Jose Bautista? Yes, without a doubt. But we’re also talking about human beings, and in general they can only take so much before they have to step in and take matters into their own hands. What Odor did may have been wrong, but it also had a certain ring of frontier justice to it. And you can’t say frontier justice without using the word justice

    Next: Baltimore Orioles: Is Darren O'Day at risk for a suspension?

    The Orioles will return to action tonight as they open up a three-game set with the red hot Seattle Mariners. Ubaldo Jimenez will get the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Seattle’s Wade Miley. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.