Rougie

If you haven’t heard of Rougned Odor by now, just google his name. You’ll find hundreds of articles–most of which have been written in the last 24 hours and focus on that wicked blow he laid on Jose Bautista in the Blue Jays-Rangers game on May 15.

Since then, conclusions have been drawn as to what kind of player and person that incident makes him. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and feelings about the situation and the person.

I’m not trying to dispute any of that.

I’m not trying to defend any situation.

I’m not trying to defend any one person.

I do, however, want to tell you about the Rougie I know and have known since he broke into the Major Leagues with the Rangers two years ago. So if you’re not interested in that, cool. Stop reading 🙂

Full disclosure. I have covered the Rangers for more than a decade. I am currently their dugout reporter. I am a currently contract employee of the Rangers organization. I am a giant homer, and I make no apologies for that. I am in that clubhouse 100+ days over the course of a 162-game season, and those dudes in that room make it hard NOT to root for them. So there it is. All out in the open.

Now to Rougie. When I first met him, he was guarded—sure of himself but a bit uncertain as to how to handle the media aspect of being a Big Leaguer. I remember one of my first conversations with him. He told me how important it was to him to be able to speak English in his interviews, but he wasn’t comfortable. He was afraid he would say the wrong thing, that he would be misunderstood. He was driven by the example that Elvis Andrus set in establishing himself as player that could be counted on between the lines, as well as in post-game press conferences.

He worked tirelessly with Spanish broadcaster Eleno Orneles to improve his English. I can’t even count the number of conversations we’ve had over the last two years about how important it is to him that he be able to speak without a translator. And now he does. He speaks freely, much like the way he plays. He worked his ass off to get to that point, just like he worked his ass off to get back to the Big Leagues after being sent down to the minors last year. So if you’re going to judge him by a Jose Bautista right hook and a minor league melee, factor those things into your equation as well. And throw in his willingness to do just about anything to put a smile on anyone’s face, particularly if they’re shorter than him, aka kids ;).

Rougned Odor is not a thug. He is not an a-hole. He plays hard. All the time. And with a lot of emotion. Sometimes those emotions run a little high, playing a fiercely competitive game with extremely high stakes. But who am I to judge? I lose my shit on a regular basis sitting in a camera well. And you know what may be the greatest thing about Rougie? He’s not concerned about his reputation outside his clubhouse–to him, that’s the only one that matters.

I know what you’re thinking—I’d have a different take on Rougie if he wasn’t on my team. Maybe you’re right. But he is on my team, and I can say with certainty that the guys who wear the same jersey as Rougned Odor feel the same way.

Just my two cents, which is about all it’s worth. #uptop

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Rougned Odor and Elvis Andrus with my son, Henry.

18 thoughts on “Rougie

  1. Play at the Plate

    I love Rougie and don’t have a problem with the punch after what Bautista did. I hope he always keeps that feisty attitude and fierce heart. As for you, I’d like to know what causes you to lose it in the camera well. 🙂

    Reply
  2. Sundberg Fan

    Unfortunately, I was not where I could watch the game when all this happened. I would have loved to have seen it, and, perhaps, even moreso, heard your take on it from your position in the dugout. What you bring to the team via your reporting is wonderful. As to Rougie’s passion when he plays, to quote the old KFC commercial – Gotta Love It! I’d much rather see that than the business like approach of former Ranger Mark Texiera, whom I never really cared for anyway, no matter the talent. Love that Bannister supports and encourages his players, and love your take on all matters Ranger. Now, where is that recipe you always include with your blog posts?

    Reply
  3. Carlyn K

    I love Rougie. I met him last year when he was sent down last year to Round Rock. 14 of us went down for the Saturday game and waited more than 4 hours in the rain hoping for a shot to get Josh Hamilton’s autograph and a game that never started. Eventually, the game was rescheduled for a Sunday Double Header. Everyone else headed back to Arlington, Fort Worth, Waco, College Station, Cedar Park and 1 back to OU; I was the only one who stayed in town and went to both games on Sunday.

    I got there early with a just few others (a much, much smaller autograph seeking crowd than Saturday evening … especially since Josh was already headed out to be re-evaluated and join the team I think for the Cleveland series). Anyway, most of the players were only stopping for the guys with kids. I hollered at Rougie, told him we missed him up in Arlington. He nodded and walked over with a smile. I asked him to sign my baseball. He told me not to worry, that he would be back up in Arlington soon, and better than ever. I told him, to keep working hard and I believed in him. He handed me my baseball back, and told me thank you for being a Rangers fan, and his fan. Gave him a high five and a fist bump, then he headed to the field. It wasn’t until I got to my seat and took a picture of the baseball that I saw the awesome thing he did. He signed with the #12 that he wears in Arlington; instead of the #9 he was wearing for Round Rock.

    He was true to his words and came back up and was spectacular. He works hard, plays hard and is a dedicated TEAM player. I love TEXAS Baseball, I love our #12 and I love my TEXAS RANGERS!!! Thank you and God Bless Rougie too. 🙂

    Reply
  4. Michael Lidgard

    I’m sure Roughie is a great person, as you have said here; however, violence cannot, and should not be tolerated. Ever. Suppose Bautista’s slide had torn up Odor’s knee. Suppose Odor’s punch had landed just right, and given Bautista a career ending concussion. Suppose either Bush’s or Chavez’s pitches hit Bautista or Fielder in just the right way, resulting in a permanent back injury, as happened to me in college.

    I know it is human nature for Rangers fans to look at Bautista as a villain, and for Blue Jays fans to look at Odor as a villain; however, they are both human beings with families, and well-earned MLB careers. It is all well and good to look at different players through “Rangers goggles”, “Blue Jays goggles”, or what have you; that’s part of the fun of being a fan. However, it is not reasonable to think this way when violence is involved. I am the victim of a permanent back injury as a result of baseball’s “unwritten rules” from my college playing days. It is only a matter of time until something similar happens to a professional player, all because of completely fabricated “honor”.

    I have been imploring National, Texas, Toronto media to address this since the day of the brawl. Some have done so, some haven’t. Regardless, violence should not be condoned, tolerated, or celebrated. Ever.

    Reply
  5. Kay Gaston

    You are a class act yourself, Emily!! Thank you for writing, and sharing your opinions!! I have personally seen the time you put in to getting to know each of the Rangers players, and you show us their true “selves” You are respected, by many……. And I am proud to call myself one of your loyal followers!! Thank you again for sharing your personal thoughts!! #Odorfan #keepupthegoodworkemily
    #didntgetabobblehead😢😢
    Kay Gaston

    Reply
  6. Michael Lidgard

    Dear Emily,

    Please unblock me from seeing your Twitter feed, as I have done nothing to deserve this. I would very much like to see your tweet on the Rangers, as you have a keen insight.

    Thank you,

    Michael Lidgard

    Reply
  7. Michael Lidgard

    Dear Emily,

    Please unblock me from seeing your Twitter feed, as I have done nothing to deserve this. I would very much like to see your tweet on the Rangers, as you have a keen insight.

    Thank you,

    Michael Lidgard

    Reply

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