ARLINGTON, Texas — Give Rougned Odor some credit: Seven years later, his punch on Jose Bautista's jaw still hurts to look at.
The second baseman's biggest moment as a Texas Ranger happened on May 15, 2016, which might as well have been a lifetime ago.
Different stadium. Different manager. An almost entirely different roster.
But no one is forgetting that punch.
It happened in the top of the eighth inning, with the Rangers leading the Toronto Blue Jays, 7-6. But really, it started about eight months earlier, in the American League Division Series on Oct. 14, 2015.
Bautista, Toronto's slugging rightfielder, hammered a three-run go-ahead homer in the Blue Jays' Game 5 series-clinching win. And then he flipped his bat. It did not go over well with the Rangers.
Needless to say, when the two sides met during the regular season in 2016, tensions were... simmering.
It came to a head with Odor's fist.
Bautista was hit by a pitch to lead off the eighth inning, and apparently wasn't pleased by it. When Justin Smoak grounded into a double play, Bautista slid hard into second base "to send a message that I didn't appreciate getting hit," he told ESPN.
The slide was a little too hard for Odor.
The Rangers' second baseman throw to first base was wide left. But by the time it sailed out of play, melee had ensued.
Odor and Bautista bowed up to each other, and Odor hit him with a shove. As Bautista went back at him, Odor threw the punch.
He clocked Bautista in the jaw, knocking off Bautista's helmet and sunglasses in unison. Then he slapped him on top of his head with his glove.
Adrian Beltre stepped in and got Bautista away from the Odor, but by then, the benches were cleared. The scrum spilled into the outfield and last several more minutes.
Bautista and Odor were kicked out of the game, and Odor ended up getting an eight-game suspension.
"I was pretty surprised," Bautista said after the game, according to the story from ESPN. "I mean, obviously, that's the only reason that he got me, and he got me pretty good, so I have to give him that. It takes a little bit bigger man to knock me down."
Odor spoke the next day and didn't say much: "I know I'm going to be suspended for a couple games, but I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing."
Odor, if only briefly, became something of a folk hero in Arlington. He even recently ended up on a mural, the famous image of his Bautista punch painted on the wall of an Arlington taco shop. (By the way, the mural, is staying).
Few things would have been cooler than the fiery Odor becoming a cornerstone of the franchise.
It just didn't work out.
Odor was fine the rest of 2016, finishing with 33 home runs and 88 RBI
The solid season was enough to earn Odor a six-year contract worth $49.5 million, setting him up to be the Rangers' second baseman of the future. But Odor struggled mightily in 2017 with a .649 OPS, despite hitting 30 homers. He bounced back in 2018 but fell back to around a .200 average in 2019 and then .167 in 2020.
And that was that for the Rougned Odor era in Arlington.
The Rangers traded him to the Yankees at the onset of the 2021 season, and then he latched on with the Orioles in 2022 and the Padres this season.
And if you can believe this, Rangers fans, he's not yet 30 years old.
"The Punch" really does feel like a lifetime ago.