We’re a friendly town. We welcome everyone.
Transplants from the Rust Belt. Lost souls from the Planet Houston. New Yorkers Not Named Alex Rodriguez.
We shouldn’t have to tell you to behave this weekend, therefore, but we will.
The Toronto Blue Jays are coming to town. Jose Bautista and his haughty bat flip. Josh Donaldson, who mouthed off to Keone Kela and cleared the benches. Justin Smoak, who’s finally hitting .300 —six years too late!
No big deal, your Texas Rangers have contended. That was last year’s postseason, and this is 2016.
Move along, the Rangers have said. There’s nothing to see here, except three ball games.
But I don’t believe them one bit.
The bat flip. Donaldson’s always-yapping mouth. The trash-throwing scene that interrupted Game 5. And then came the Rangers’ back-to-back walk-off losses last week in Toronto.
From what I recall, they’re not all that enamored of Rougned Odor and the Rangers in Toronto, either.
Odor scored seven times in the five-game series. One run came in Game 2 after right fielder Bautista threw behind him and nearly picked him off second base. A replay review allowed it; the home crowd loudly disagreed.
Odor’s final run of the American League Division Series came in the seventh inning of Game 5. He led off with a single, moved up on a bunt and advanced to third on a ground out. Odor then dashed home without hesitation when catcher Russell Martin’s throw back to the pitcher hit batter Shin-Soo Choo’s hand/bat/whatever and deflected up the third-base line.
A lengthy umpire conference eventually straightened out the call, allowing the go-ahead run to stand. But the Rogers Centre crowd quickly turned ugly, pelting the field with popcorn boxes and empty Labatt bottles. Later in the inning, some clown even came to the end of the Rangers’ first-base dugout and started flinging things at their bench.
Both benches emptied during the bottom half of the seventh after Rangers reliever Sam Dyson took exception to the Blue Jays’ prolonged self-congratulation.
Last week in Toronto, Odor was described as a “nemesis.” He plays with a feisty edge, and he’s on his way to an All-Star season. But Odor likely won’t make an AL All-Star team any time soon, because fans in other cities will never vote for him.
Especially in Toronto.
Which is fair enough, because I can’t imagine Rangers fans voting for Bautista, either, or for Donaldson, whose time in Oakland included an incident where he called Yu Darvish a vulgar name and challenged him to throw him fastballs.
The two back-to-back walk-off defeats last week can only have added to the growing rivalry between the two teams.
When that idea was presented to the Rangers this week, however, they shrugged it away. It’s April, they said. There are a lot of baseball games still to be played.
Maybe, but for now this is the only scheduled visit by the Blue Jays this season. The only chance to greet Bautista and Donaldson.
We’re a friendly town. And a baseball town.
We know, therefore, that we don’t have to remind you how to welcome the Blue Jays.
But you might want to rewatch the seventh inning of last October’s Game 5.
Rangers vs. Blue Jays
7:05 p.m. Friday FSSW