Everyone's talking about a fight between Rougned Odor and Jose Bautista today, which means it's a perfect time to write a This Tangentially Relates to the Giants article. I'm good at these in real life, too, inserting the Giants into every conversation because I lack social skills. It's the only thing I know.
Just be aware that I'm not doing it to prove a point about Odor or make some sort of grand statement. I'm doing it because I forgot about it, and I'm pretty sure I shouldn't have.
The day was July 31, 2015. The Giants were going to trade for Mike Leake and turn their entire season around. The Rangers were hosting them for a three-game series, and in the fourth inning of a rough Madison Bumgarner start, things got chippy. With nobody out and Rougned Odor on first, Bumgarner snared a comebacker and threw to second to get the lead runner.
The play looked like this:
It was a bowl of cat turds, that play. It was also completely legal. Look at how close we were to Kelby Tomlinson being a lineup regular for the start of this season:
If Odor were six inches to his right, or if Panik's foot was planted in just the wrong way ... my stars, that could have been ugly. And that same runner is the one who was upset about Bautista's slide? Isn't that hypocritical.
No, not really. Odor's slide up there was codified by a series of dumb rules and misplaced machismo. That used to be a Good, Hard Baseball Play, the kind that players make if they're Playing the Game the Right Way. It was scary late, but if you don't break up a double play in a regular season game, it might have repercussions for the entire season. The Rangers won their division by two games last year, but if Odor lets Panik make the double play, maybe the Giants come back. And maybe the Rangers don't win their division. He doesn't know.
Maybe Ernie Banks didn't win a World Series because one of his teammates didn't slide hard in a July game. I think the onus is on you to prove that wrong, pal.
But Bautista's slide was made in the spirit of "I'm a gonna mess this guy up." He knew it was against the new rules. He was ticked that he was hit by a pitch, and he was looking hurt someone in retaliation. He probably has regrets about the way everything else unfolded, to be quite honest.
Odor wasn't trying to hurt a player, even though he did a great job of putting a player in harm's way. Bautista was probably trying to hurt a player. That's the difference, even though both slides were gross.
Later in that inning, Madison Bumgarner yelled at a rookie to keep running, as he's wont to do.
Part of that had to do with Bumgarner being overly sensitive about the way other people play the game. Again. But a big part of it had to do with the Giants being mad at Odor's slide, too.
The best part? The rules have changed. Those vomitorious slides are illegal now, and we shouldn't have to deal with man-apes like Matt Holliday breaking our hottest hitter in the postseason.
But they were legal once, and Odor partook in a game against the Giants. Now he's in the news because he got made at a takeout slide directed toward him, which gives us the perfect chance to revisit this. Good riddance, death slides. No one misses you.