Chipper Jones dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Monday to discuss numerous MLB topics, including Sunday’s brawl between Rangers and Blue Jays.
Texas, still smarting over the Jose Bautista bat flip, hit the Blue Jays right-fielder twice in the eighth inning yesterday – first on a HBP by Matt Bush, and later with a punch by second baseman Rougned Odor, who dazed Bautista with a stiff right to the jaw after a hard slide.
Texas won, 7-6, in the seventh – and final – meeting of the year between these two teams, but the result, it seems, didn’t matter as much as the melee.
“I totally get both sides of the argument here,” Jones said on Tiki and Tierney. “As an old-school guy, I’ve heard people term the bat flip as maybe quote-unquote too happy. I personally thought it was unbelievably excessive, even for the situation. I know that coming from the school that I came from and obviously coming up under Bobby Cox, that’s the way we were raised in the game. We probably would have felt the same way that Texas did. They waited until the seventh game. I totally agree with that as well. You don’t want seven games marred by this kind of ill-will, and it’s better to take care of it in the last two or three innings.”
Jones felt Bush hit Bautista intentionally.
“Obviously they hit him on purpose,” Jones said. “I can see Bautista being a little ticked off about it. The slide, I don’t think it was all that excessive, but it was against the rules. And he slid in and tried to take out the wrong second baseman because that boy certainly knows how to throw a punch. He landed it square, and to Bautista’s credit, he stayed staggered but he didn’t go down. It catches you by surprise because you don’t really see that anymore in the game. But I’m going to tell you this right now: Baseball, whether you get caught up in this whole make-baseball-fun-again trap or whatever, baseball will find a way to police itself. Whenever somebody feels unjustly shown up or gets their feelings hurt, they’re going to take it into their own hands. They’re not going to leave it up to the higher-ups of baseball. Baseball will police itself.”
Tiki and Tierney then took Jones around the league, asking for his thoughts on a variety of topics, including the great debate that will rage for years to come: Bryce Harper or Mike Trout?
“Man, that’s a tough one,” said Jones, who was an MVP, World Series champion and eight-time All-Star during a brilliant 19-year career with the Braves. “Golly, I got to pick one? See, I’m not going to fall for it. If I pick one, it’s going to be in the media and (the) person (I don’t pick is) going to call me and say, ‘Why are you picking him over me?’ These guys are two great, great talents. Both of these guys got Rookies of the year, they got MVPs, they got playoff appearances, they both go deep 30 or 40 times, they both drive in runs and get the big hits. To be honest with you, I think if I got a righty on the mound, I want Bryce Harper hitting, and if I got a lefty, I want Mike Trout? How about that?”
Once Chipper finished chuckling, though, he revealed his hand a bit more.
“I think that Bryce Harper is the one player in baseball who has the best chance of becoming the next Barry Bonds,” Jones said. “And I will say this: Barry Bonds, steroids or no steroids, Barry Bonds is the best player that I have ever seen don a baseball uniform. Bar none. There’s not even a close second. This guy was dominant on offense, he was dominant on defense, he could steal bases. He could see one pitch in the game over the plate and hit that sucker 450 feet. It was just the most impressive, most disciplined display of playing the game of baseball that I’ve ever seen.”