PHOENIX — The Yankees’ clubhouse is no different from, presumably, just about every other team’s in baseball.
Less than 24 hours after Rougned Odor’s Texas roundhouse connected with Jose Bautista’s face during an ugly brawl between the Rangers and Blue Jays, it remained a hot topic.
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“It’s something you don’t see every day for sure,” Carlos Beltran said Monday before the Yankees played the Diamondbacks.
Added Chase Headley: “It’s not often that you see punches land like that. You see a handful of bench-clearings, but usually it’s just a huge scrum.”
The Rangers and Blue Jays scrummed twice Sunday, the first time in the top of the eighth inning after Bautista, who had been hit by a pitch, slid hard into Odor at second.
When Prince Fielder was hit by a pitch in the bottom half of the inning, the benches emptied again.
“It certainly wasn’t pretty and I hate seeing that stuff,” said Joe Torre, MLB’s Chief Baseball Officer who was in town to take part in a pregame tribute for the late Joe Garagiola, who passed away in March at the age of 90. “Any time I see a bunch of players out on the field, you just hold your breath and you’re hoping everybody comes out of it . . . obviously we’re going to be issuing discipline. Hopefully by tomorrow (Tuesday) we’ll issue a statement.”
All of it, of course, stemmed from what happened the previous October.
Upon hammering a no-doubter of a three-run homer that snapped a 3-3 tie and paved the way for Toronto’s 6-3 victory in Game 5 of last year’s ALDS at a raucous Rogers Centre, Bautista admired the blow before emphatically flipping his bat away.
That did not sit well with the Rangers at the time, with many seething in the cramped visitor’s clubhouse. What happened Sunday in many ways was predictable and rekindled an issue that doesn’t need much to be rekindled: how much emotion is too much when it comes to displays of emotion in a game that traditionally has frowned on such public displays?
Many, including stars like Bryce Harper, have been outspoken in saying that needs to change.
“I don’t see it going away, I don’t see it getting any better,” Headley said. “Personally, I think there’s a way to celebrate and react that doesn’t show up your opponent. If a guy gets a big hit or a pitcher strikes me out in a big situation and he pumps his fist and he’s looking in his dugout and reacting with his guys, I have no issues with that. As soon as you start making eye contact with the other team or doing something to show them up . . . there’s a line.”
Headley smiled when asked if Bautista’s reaction last October crossed that line.
“It’s hard to say not being in the building,” Headley said. “For me, initially I was like, ‘that was pretty intense.’ But it’s a big moment. Without being there I want to reserve a little bit of judgment.”
Joe Girardi joked that he’s often “emotionless,” which is the way he came up in the game, but understands players have changed.
“Some people like it, some people don’t,” he said. “It really doesn’t bother me too much. I try to look at a player’s heart to see if he’s really looking to show somebody up. I try to look at the intention.”
While saying “I never liked it” as a player or manager, Torre said there are cultural differences in play.
“The one thing you have to keep in mind is different countries have different customs,” Torre said. “I managed the WBC a few years ago and the Dominican club, the Puerto Rican club, the club from Mexico, they were a lot more animated. It may not be something we’re used to seeing, but you certainly have to understand the way they’re used to playing the game. I try to keep that in mind.”