ARLINGTON, Texas — It was exactly two years ago today that Toronto Blue Jays right fielder José Bautista caught one of the nastiest punches ever thrown in a baseball brawl.
A feud simmering since Bautista’s bat flip in 2015 year’s AL division series boiled over into a wild brawl in the game between Toronto and Texas on May 15, 2016.
It was a tussle at which baseball fans can still crack a wry grin, particularly for Royals fans since at that point, the Royals had already been one of the many targets of Bautista’s hot-headed ire. (Don’t worry, José. There’s no love lost.)
That fateful evening, Bautista and Texas second baseman Rougned Odor got into a fistfight behind the bag after a hard slide by the Toronto slugger in the eighth inning. Players from both teams rushed the field as Odor landed a rock-solid punch to Bautista’s face, that sent him stumbling backward — a blow that Bautista no doubt still remembers it two years later.
“There’s some pent up emotion going on at Globe Life Park,” one announcer said as the rest of the teams rushed the field.
“Bautista got the worst of that exchange,” another announcer added.
Umpires needed about 10 minutes to restore order, and Blue Jays reliever Jesse Chavez hit Prince Fielder with the next pitch when the game resumed. He was ejected after an earlier warning for both teams when Bautista was hit by a pitch from Matt Bush.
Bautista and Odor were ejected along with Toronto’s Josh Donaldson and Texas bench coach Steve Buechele.
MLB later handed Odor an 8-game suspension and a $5,000 fine. Bautista received a 1-game suspension, and no doubt, a very sore jaw.