Bad Blood, One Punch, Sanitized Sports

We are fairly certain that “officially” Rougned Odor of the Rangers will probably be coerced into apologizing to the media and fans of MLB. He landed a clean, Tyson-worthy punch to the noggin of Jays Jose Bautista last Sunday, after he was nearly taken out by a legal but hard slide.

Baseball FightThe punch was not about the slide. It was about bad blood between the two teams going back to last season’s playoffs and an idiotic bat flip. If baseball were an animal, it would be an elephant on steroids. We’ll get to that topic in a minute.

“The punch” was shown no less than 20 times within 30 minutes of sports programming the other day. Each time the punch connected. Each time there were shrieks of on-air horror as Bautista’s head snapped back from the contact. The punch was then followed by clearing benches, taunts and other posturing. There will be fines and game suspensions.

The punch

The punch was stupid. Whether it was “vicious” or an “assault” or any of the other descriptors that were applied, is not for me to say from an ethical point of view. The punch was also subjective; Jay’s fans hated it, Rangers fans cheered.

There are old, old clips of guys like Rose hammering on Harrelson, or Ryan versus Ventura that are classics. We can go back even further to Marichal hitting Roseboro with a baseball bat and the classic idiot of them all Ty Cobb, spiking just about everyone in his path. They were all stupid, but somehow baseball managed to survive.

The punch was so “dramatic” because in the currently sanitized, over-officiated, over-hyped, over-endorsed world of professional sports, many of us could not believe that an unscripted punch made its way past 10 layers of imaginary censorship.

Was Odor wrong for throwing the punch? Yes. Was it as wrong as PED abuse slowly infecting collegiate and even high school baseball? No, hell no. The ethical point that we are making is that while the punch was ill-advised, steroid abuse among high school, collegiate and minor league baseball players continues almost unabated and no one seems horrified at all. We are “horrified” on the social media and call-in shows when we see a jerk punch another player, we are not so horrified when the kid down the block suddenly puts on 25 pounds of muscle mass.

Everybody wins

Here is where it all gets jumbled. In a society where educators thought they were helping self-esteem issues by giving every kid a “participation trophy,” we think many people had a secret desire to eliminate competition and replace it with a wimpish Kumbaya mentality. It has affected both little boys and little girls.

Some who witnessed “the punch,” could not believe that after all of the attempts to eliminate competitiveness in sports, it was still possible for two teams to hate the crap out of each other. Many parents view baseball as the last bastion of tree-hugging. It isn’t and never was. Do we condone fighting in baseball? Absolutely not, but there are strong penalties for such stupidity already in place. Odor will get his. Right or wrong, it will happen.

Nevertheless, while the punch might have led to a black eye or split lip, we still don’t know the long term effects of PEDs on the livers, brains, kidneys and hearts of high school, minor league and collegiate athletes.

We cannot help but wonder how many “Everyone Wins” trophy holders turned to chemical assistance when they realized that some were winning better than others.




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