New Rivalry Heats Up

For years, the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees have been the biggest rivalry in baseball, and even sports history; however, now that David Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez, and Derek Jeter have retired, this rivalry has died down. With this vacancy of a rivalry, a new one has flourished.

The Blue Jays and Rangers are a very different Even though most rivalries are between two teams within one division, the Blue Jays and Rangers are an exception. Here is how the story begins…

There have been two major events that have flared this rivalry. The first one occurred during the 2015 ALDS. After coming off very successful seasons, these two teams met in the postseason. The ALDS came down to a series deciding game five. Now this is where it gets interesting…

Top of the 7th, Rangers and Blue Jays are currently tied 2-2 but the Rangers have a runner on third. Blue Jays catcher, Russell Martin, threw the ball back to the pitcher, at least he planned on it, but the ball ended up hitting the bat of the current batter. As the ball dribbled away the runner on third charged home and scored the go ahead run in the 7th inning, in a tied series. WOW!

However, that is only the beginning of this scenario. The umpire originally called time while the ball was rolling away from the catcher. Therefore, it is technically a dead ball since the umpire called time. So you would think the Blue Jays caught a break and it’s still a tied game? Well, you’re wrong, and so was the home plate umpire. The rules stipulate that when the ball is being thrown back to the pitcher it is still a live ball. After a crew chief review of the play, the runner was ruled safe and it ended up being a tied game.

Unfortunately, the Blue Jays fans did not take this too kindly and began throwing trash all over the field because they were upset with the call, even though it was the correct call according to the rulebook. The accumulation of trash was so bad that the Rangers had to exit the field and return to their dugout. It was almost as if bombs were being dropped and they ran for cover. People up in the third deck of the stadium were even throwing trash, including beer bottles, which is incredibly dangerous since they are so high up and can barely reach the field if they threw something. After a fifteen-minute delay for cleaning up the trash…the inning anticlimactically ended with a groundout.

Now, it was the Blue Jays turn to strike back. There was only one cure for their fans, runs. With Josh Donaldson batting, he grounded out but a run scored to tie the game up in the bottom of the 7th. As the inning continued, the Blue Jays continued to get on base. With runners on second and third, the Blue Jays power bat was at the plate, Jose Bautista.On a 1-1 count, Bautista got a fastball middle-in and he absolutely crushed it. Off the bat, everyone knew it was a three-run homer that put the Blue Jays on top 6-3. The Blue Jays would close this game out and move on to the ALCS.

Don’t worry, the rivalry continued on to the 2016 season. On May 15, Rougned Odor and Jose Bautista got up close and personal. Blue Jays first baseman, Edwin Encarnacion, his a ground ball to shortstop with Bautista on first. The Rangers planned on turning the double play but Bautista slid very late in to second base. At the start of the 2016 season there was a new rule released stating that players must stay in contact with the base when they slid. Bautista clearly came off the base and Odor was very disappointed. After getting in Bautista’s face Odor shoved and then punched Bautista right, square in the face.

The benches ended up clearing and Bautista and Odor, in addition to others, were ejected from the game. This was a result from the heat the Rangers took following the 2015 ALDS loss. The Rangers would go on to win that game 7-6 without their star second baseman.

Fortunately, fights like this have not happened very often in the past two years. However, the few times it did happen, it was between these two teams. Texas, a state filled with American pride, and Toronto, the only Canadian city that has a baseball team in the Major League. This year the Blue Jays are off to a 2-11 start. On the other hand, the Rangers are 5-10. Both of these teams are at the bottom of their divisions. Their first meeting of the season will be Friday, May 26th in Toronto, where the altercation all began. Since both teams have had a slow start, it will be interesting to see if they express their frustration by scoring more runs than the other team, or by clearing the benches for another time.