The rites (wrongs?) of spring, continued . . .

McCutchen lost his confidence on the bases when he slumped at the plate last year . . .

McCutchen lost his confidence on the bases when he slumped at the plate last year . . .

* Some think the Mets’ Tim Tebow experiment is a farce, some think it’s just good clean fun. He looked a bit on the foolish side in his first two spring games before collecting his first spring hit and making a diving catch while he was at it. There are worse things that could happen in spring training.

The Jays sweep the Rangers—Odorous karma?

Odor's short-hopping throw on what should have been part two of a double play allows Josh Donaldson to score the run that sends the Rangers home for the winter . . .

Odor’s short-hopping throw on what should have been part two of a double play allows Josh Donaldson to score the run that sends the Rangers home for the winter . . .

Whatever it is they say about karma, Rougned Odor is going to hear more about it than he probably cares to hear. At least until he and his Rangers return to another postseason, preferably unscathed by a throwing error to leave the current postseason, or a stupid brawl over reactions to last-minute paybacks for things months in the past.

Who got what, who got not, over the Rangers-Jays basebrawl

Odor was lucky to get a mere eight-game layoff and a tip-money fine . . .

Odor was lucky to get a mere eight-game layoff and a tip-money fine . . .

It turns out that I was right in how I called at least two of the punishments handed down for the Texas-Toronto basebrawl game Sunday. Elsewhere, there were a few surprises.

Rougned Odor, whose roundhouse to Jose Bautista’s face exploded what Matt Bush’s drill of Bautista and Bautista’s hard but nowhere near dirty slide into Odor at second base merely ignited, got eight games and a $5,000 fine. Bautista got one game off. Thinking twice, he should have gotten none and Odor probably should have gotten more.

The Rangers check into Heartbreak Hotel

Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays start the victory party . . .

Elvis probably wanted to leave the building. So did Mitch and Rougnie. And there isn’t a man, woman, child, or extraterrestrial spirit in Texas, Ontario, or the world who’d blame them.

But they didn’t. And Elvis Andrus stood at his locker after it ended, took it like a man, and didn’t flinch once.

“Everything went down since my first error,” Andrus said, after the single most insane seventh inning perhaps in all baseball history dug the grave of the Texas Rangers’ otherwise miraculous season.

Yes, the Rangers, back from the dead, doing their yard work

Dallas Keuchel, learning the hard way how you can be sunk when your sinker can't be.

Dallas Keuchel, learning the hard way how you can be sunk when your sinker can’t be.

It may not be advisable to say it to Astros lefthander Dallas Keuchel’s face, of course. But yes, the Rangers are back from the dead. And if Wednesday night’s proceedings in Arlington were any indication, these Rangers would like nothing more than to leave those Astros—and everyone else in the American League West—for dead, too.

The less than Angelic purge of Josh Hamilton

Hamilton (left, with manager Scioscia), spanked and disowned.

Hamilton (left, with manager Scioscia), spanked and disowned.

When Josh Hamilton joined the Angels, discovering his new home park was a pitcher’s park for the most part, and finding pitchers otherwise began exploiting his willingness to chase out of the strike zone, life became difficult enough on the field. It became impossible, though,  when the Angels’ management decided his reward for copping to an off-season substance relapse, on Super Bowl Sunday, without being compelled to do so by a drug test or an arrest or another factor beyond his own conscience, should be his head on a plate.

The Headhunter Gets Captured By The Game

Vicente Padilla still doesn’t get it. He didn’t get it as a starter; he doesn’t get it as a reliever. The problem is that one of his teammates is probably going to get it. Maybe in the back, maybe upside the head, certainly on Padilla’s dime, sooner or later. It’s happened before, to other teammates on other teams. It’ll happen again. And if it isn’t because of his propensity to hit batters, it might be because of his big mouth.

The designated hitter rule keeps Padilla from standing in at the plate, but if he should have to cover first base on a play don’t be surprised if the next Yankee to face him decides to plow him under the pad.

Of All-Star Follies . . .

The Wright stuff for an All-Star start . . .

So you thought the Cincinnati All-Star ballot box stuffing scandal was scandalous? Try explaining the San Francisco All-Star ballot box stuffing this year. Once you’ve done that, explain to me how and why a guy (Pablo Sandoval) who’s only played in 44 games with decent numbers gets the fan vote to start at third base over the arguable first-half National League most valuable player (David Wright, New York Mets) who’s carried a team with an injury and inconsistency-wracked offence into the thick of the pennant races. Unless you think a 1.013 OPS through this writing indicates a player worse than one with an .848 OPS.

The Cardinals Finish Coming From the Brink to Valhalla

Nelson Cruz’s walkoff grand slam in Game Two of the American League Championship Series? Gone with his other eight postseason record-tying bombs. Ian Kinsler’s theft of second, channeling Dave Roberts, to spark a World Series-tying rally in the first place? You won’t even find it on the police blotter now. The Rally Squirrel? Who the hell needed him?

Albert Pujols channeling Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson in Game Three? Fuggedabouddit. Derek Holland’s masterpiece pitching in Game Four of the World Series? Prove it. (And those were the two events that helped turn this World Series from good to great in the first place.)