It wasn't right, but what happened on Sunday between the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays was probably inevitable.
Rangers pitcher Matt Bush drilled Jays outfielder Jose Bautista, which may or may not have been intentional, but you'll never convince anybody in Toronto of that after seven months of debate over Bautista's infamous bat flip in the deciding Game 5 of last year's ALDS. Bautista went to first and then took out his frustration on Rougned Odor with a very hard slide at second base.
That much was definitely intentional, since Bautista admitted it after the game.
Odor took offense and then it got real. He shoved Bautista. Baustista raised his fist. Odor caught him flush with a right hook that George Foreman would have been proud of and, of course, all hell broke loose and the resulting brawl led to multiple ejections. There would be other unpleasantness -- including another purpose pitch that hit Prince Fielder and led to more ejections -- but everyone will remember "the punch."
Not exactly the way you want your Little Leaguer to handle a dispute, but they still play hardball once in awhile at the Major League level. This kind of thing used to happen pretty regularly, but the game has become a bit more genteel in the big-money free agent era.
Though Odor took the biggest swing this time, it certainly wasn't the first incident stemming from Bautista's flamboyant behavior. The Orioles long ago grew weary of his theatrics and there have been a number of moments when the O's and Jays have appeared to be on the verge of a brawl.
The thing that seemed to rankle the Blue Jays was the fact that the Rangers -- if, in fact, the HBP was intentional -- waited until the final game between the two clubs this season to get their revenge. It certainly will juice up the ratings if they end up meeting again in the playoffs this year.
Was it really intentional? That's certainly a fair question, since Bush is a rookie who was making only his second major league appearance when he hit Bautista and it was likely Bautista's last regular-season at-bat against the Rangers.
But it didn't make strategic sense, since Bautista was leading off the eighth inning in a game the contending Rangers were leading by just one run.
We may never know, but there are times when perception is all that matters.