The 2017 World Baseball Classic has provided plenty of excitement and drama. Even those who aren’t participating in the tournament have watched as each game has turned into a pressure-packed contest.
Monday night was no different. Venezuela and Italy took part in an elimination game, and things were tight in the ninth inning. With his team down by a run, Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera would hit a solo home run to tie things up. After a walk put the go-ahead run on base, Texas Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor stepped to the plate hoping to give his team the lead.
On the seventh pitch of the at-bat, Odor crushed a ball to center field. He admired his shot for a second, unleashed a massive bat-flip and then found himself … standing on first base. That’s right, Odor bat-flipped a single. Though he put a charge into the ball, Odor hit it to the deepest part of the ballpark. The ball hit the absolute top of the wall in center. It was about as far as one could hit a ball without it leaving the yard.
Instead of winding up on second or third, Odor found himself at first due to the bat-flip and lack of hustle. That aspect didn’t go unnoticed by division-rival Alex Bregman.
(Screengrab lovingly taken from Sporting News)
That tweet didn’t last long. In fact, it’s no longer up on Bregman’s page. It’s already been deleted. Thankfully, nothing on the Internet can truly disappear.
Bregman is entitled to his opinion, obviously, and this particular tweet wasn’t all that bad, but he still decided to get rid of it. There are probably a number of reasons for that. First off, Bregman probably doesn’t want to start a huge rivalry with a division opponent. The Rangers and Houston Astros play each other 19 times throughout the regular season. There’s no need to add fuel to that fire just yet.
On top of that, while Odor’s move was embarrassing, it didn’t come back to hurt Venezuela. His hit scored the go-ahead run, and he would eventually come around to score as well. So while he looked foolish flipping his bat prematurely, it’s tough to argue with the end result. Odor came out on top.
Finally, and perhaps this is the most significant part, Bregman has only played 49 games in the majors. While Odor is hardly a seasoned veteran, he has more service time, and Bregman probably didn’t want to call out a more experienced player. Even if you agree with Bregman’s point, he’s still the less experienced guy here. Some players might bristle at a younger guy calling out a veteran.
In the end, there’s probably no controversy here. Bregman deleted the relatively tame tweet. It’s probably not the type of thing we should expect to boil over into the regular season.
With that said, take a closer look at Bregman’s Twitter avatar for a moment. It depicts him rounding second base, likely after hitting a home run. Who do you see in the background of the avatar? Yep, it’s Rougned Odor!
Coincidence? Almost certainly. Still, the plot thickens!
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