Rangers out of line in brawl with Blue Jays

Donaldson on Bautista’s slide: “As an infielder you know that if he gets an opportunity (after getting hit by pitch) it’s a hard slide.”

— Brendan Kennedy (@BKennedyStar) May 15, 2016
Odor: Drops down on the relay throw and tries to take off Bautista’s head. And then punches Bautista in the jaw with a quick right hand. Code ruling: Violation! Some will say Odor’s throw was within the guidelines of the code, because you’re taught to drop down on a relay throw to make the player slide. It seemed, however, that Odor had intentions of trying to hurt Bautista. Why? You have a game to win. You should be more concerned with completing the double play than trying to exact even more revenge for something that happened in October. Plus, Bautista was already sliding, and he wasn’t out of the basepath. If Odor’s throw was within the code, then the code is stupid and broken and even more illogical than it already is.

It was a great punch, though.

Zero respect for Odor. Never had respect for him, never will.

— Marcus Stroman (@MStrooo6) May 15, 2016
Bottom line: The Rangers were out of line. I’m trying to find a way to defend any of their actions. I guess there’s this:

Several Rangers had issue with Kevin Pillar’s antics during scrum.

— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) May 15, 2016
Pillar did go a little crazy there, I’ll agree with that, but it seems as if the Rangers are grasping at straws to defend the whole melee. Maybe the pitch just got away from Bush (although it was the first pitch of the plate appearance), or maybe he threw at Bautista on his own. Adrian Beltre said after the game that the pitch got away from Bush and “and they took it the wrong way.” Except … when he got hit, Bautista went to first base. That’s not when the brawl happened. Manager Jeff Banister chalked it all up to emotions getting out of hand.

Hear what @Bannyrooster28 had to say postgame after a WILD series finale in Arlington! pic.twitter.com/9AWrBsftYW

— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) May 15, 2016
I guess that’s what Banister is supposed to say. To his credit, at least he was out there trying to break up the brawl.

Bottom line: If part of the code is learning how to lose — you know, for the kids — and showing character in defeat, then the Rangers haven’t learned to lose with grace. Bautista’s home run and flip occurred in October. Get over it.

One more note on the code. There was an interesting exchange I saw on Twitter between C.J. Nitkowski, the former pitcher and current analyst for Fox, and the writer Joe Sheehan. Nitkowski tweeted this:

See? We don’t need these pansy new slide rules. Let the boys handle it themselves. Keep the nerds out, this game has always policed itself.

— CJ Nitkowski (@CJNitkowski) May 15, 2016
Joe argued that “nerds” had nothing to do with the new slide rules. I guess I fail to understand Nitkowski’s point, although that’s what players and former players say all the time. Let the players handle it. Is he saying fights are OK? Because that’s what happens when you do let the players police themselves, you get stupid stuff like this, ending up in stupid fights that could have ended in with multiple injuries. Baseball is stupid sometimes.

And all because of a bat flip.

After setting the NBA record for regular-season wins, it’s no surprise that the Golden State Warriors have cruised through the playoffs (even without MVP Stephen Curry) and are back in the Western Conference finals. But how much do we really know about how the Warriors are winning, and are they susceptible to an upset against the resurgent Oklahoma City Thunder?

The Warriors’ success begins with one of the most prolific offenses in NBA history. In the regular season they set records for effective field goal percentage (56.3) and 3-pointers made (1,077), crushing the previous marks, while averaging the second-most points per 100 possessions (112.5) in the past 30 years.

The Warriors score through a combination of ball movement, player movement and the most lethal pick-and-roll offense in the league. We all know the Warriors can shoot, but as the NBA’s leader in assist rate, they also set each other up for some of the most efficient shots in the league. In fact, no player has created higher quality looks than Curry, who creates shots for his teammates with a 57.8 average quantified shot quality, which accounts for the location and movement of the shooter and defenders, as well as the type of shot average shooters could be expected to have directly after his passes. The Warriors’ combination of efficient shots (they rank third in quantified shot quality) and unprecedented shot-making ability (first in quantified shooter impact) makes their offense nearly impossible to stop.

“I’m always excited and sleepless the night before the first game,” Parker said. “I’ve been here from Day 1 in training camp, so I was just ready to get going.

“We’re a very talented team, and I feel like we could make some noise this year. We’ve looked at what people have said and where they think we’re going to finish, and used that as motivation.”

Ah, yes, the athlete’s favorite fuel: We’re being underestimated. Saturday, Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve spoke about the “message” she thought her Lynx took from the fact that Phoenix was picked first by the league’s general managers. At least some of the Sparks also feel they are being “overlooked.”

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