Thank you baseball for Mr. Rougned Odor.

A lot of fans will read that sentence and think that I am thanking him for socking Jose Bautista in the face a few short months ago, and to a certain extent, that is why I’m thanking him. Hundreds of pieces have been written about that incident and it was discussed and will be discussed every single time Jose Bautista’s team plays Rougned Odor’s team, but I am not thanking him for socking Jose Bautista in the face because he taught him some sort of lesson, I am thanking him for teaching me sportsmanship. Confused? Read on.

Rougned Odor himself is an excellent baseball player. He plays stellar second base and is that wonderful combination of power and speed that every team chases in every single player. Before he punched Jose Bautista in the face, I actually liked Rougned Odor. After he punched Jose Bautista in the face, well, let’s just say I’ll boo him whenever he comes to bat every single time. He has taught me the art of sportsmanship in the weird way of showing me exactly what I would never want to be and showing me exactly the type of player I would never want to have on my team. I know that may sound a bit strange considering my love of Jose Bautista and his erratic temper, but hear me out.

Over the past year I began playing in a recreational softball league. Many of the teams we play are just a bunch of friends or coworkers who want something to do in the evenings once a week for fun. But then there’s the players that have the poorest sportsmanship and ruin it for everyone. The players that slam their bats when they get out, the players that yell at their teammates when they make and error, and the players that get into arguments with the other team over trivial calls in a recreational softball league. What Rougned Odor taught me is that I never want to be that person and I never want that person on my team. I never want to punch someone in the face just because I thought they might come at me or just because I don’t like them. After all, baseball is a game. We get so intense and so frustrated with our home teams that we tend to forget the fact that it’s a game with a ball and a bat that, in the grand scheme of things, doesn’t really matter. I wonder if, at the end of his life, Rougned Odor will think back to the day he punched Jose Bautista and understand how silly it was at the time.

Not only did he teach me sportsmanship and understanding that getting upset over something like baseball is pointless, he also taught me that there’s no point in getting angry with someone over something that you cannot control. Let’s think back to why he sucker punched Bautista in the first place; because the man hit the biggest homerun of his career when the spotlights of the world were on him and he threw his bat a few feet in celebration. The entire state of Texas was mad at a man for experiencing happiness because it came at their expense. One thing that my brother always taught me growing up in the city of Toronto (where the home team always loses) is that somebody has to lose. There would be no point of playing baseball for a championship if all thirty teams got to win the World Series every season. I would have thought that Rougned Odor would understand that by now, considering how many major league games he’s played in his life, but I guess he doesn’t and I guess that’s something that he’ll hold with him for the rest of his life considering the outcome of the 2016 American League Division Series. I certainly hope that nobody gets hurt in the first series between the Blue Jays and Rangers in the 2017 season, but I’m afraid something like that might happen again. It’s a cliche but when you drink poison and expect the other person to die, you’re only killing yourself, a lesson that Rougned Odor and the Texas Rangers have yet to learn.

So yes, Jose Bautista can be a jerkwad at times. Yes, he flipped a bat and pissed of an entire state, an entire nation even, but the one thing that Rougned Odor taught me is that the best type of revenge is to just win with a smile on your face because at the end of the day, it’s just a game.

For more from Zan, follow him on twitter @zanners and on instagram @zanananananananabatman

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