Jun 22, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Baltimore Orioles pitcher Darren O

Are the Orioles prepared for a brawl?

Buck Showalter often says that he doesn’t play the bean ball game, or the retaliation game. I’m not sure I believe that necessarily, because my personal stance is that all players and coaches do it. Virtually every time there’s a major incident we always hear someone involved say something along the lines of “no way was I throwing at him,” or “I don’t play that game.” I would submit that’s either a lie, or if it really isn’t then that player/coach is probably letting people walk on them.

Courtesy of USA Today

That aside, Showalter might now find himself at a crossroads regarding this in the wake of the Baltimore Orioles’ 4-2 loss in Toronto yesterday afternoon. Jose Bautista hit the go-ahead two-run homer in the last of the eighth off of Darren O’Day, however it was what he did in the immediate aftermath of the homer that had a lot of people buzzing. Bautista appeared to verbally taunt O’Day as he rounded the bases, and to his credit O’Day seemed to turn away and say nothing. This comes on top of Bautista getting mouthy with the Orioles a few times in Friday night’s game, and Toronto hitting Chris Davis in the top of the seventh yesterday as well. What gives?

Ultimately we sometimes don’t know why bad blood begins or exists between two teams. However I find it interesting that this is something that’s occurring now, and Boston seemed to make it a point to hit a few Oriole batters last weekend. It’s almost as if teams are trying to bait the Orioles specifically into some sort of conflict. I obviously don’t know for sure that’s going on, however it’s interesting to me that Oriole batters seem to continue to get hit again and again.

Miguel Gonzalez, in his first game back with the team after becoming a father, pitched a pretty decent game. I wouldn’t say he had his best stuff, but he qualified for a quality start. Gonzalez’s line: 7.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 5 K. In the middle innings of the game he was mowing them down pretty well. The Orioles got into an early hole when Melky Cabrera walked in the second inning and later scored from third on a wild pitch. However Gonzalez smoothed things out, and he put the Orioles in a position to win. Travis Ishikawa’s RBI-single in the fifth tied the score at one, but Maicer Izturis led off the last of the inning with a home run to put Toronto back on top 2-1.

However the Orioles utilized perhaps one of the biggest tools on their bench in Taylor Teagarden’s bat to even things up. Teagarden doesn’t play often, but when he does he seems to make some sort of major offensive contribution; his home run in the eighth inning knotted the score back up at two. Unfortunately for Gonzalez, he’s tagged with the loss due to the fact that he allowed Munenori Kawasaki to reach on a single before he was lifted in the eighth. Kawasaki of course scored on the aforementioned Bautista home run.

Aside from the Bautista dramatics, there are a couple of interesting things to point out. The O’s faced knuckleballer R.A. Dickey last night, and many great hitters over the years have said that it can take up to a week to recover from facing a knuckler. Travis Ishikakwa and Taylor Teagarden drove in the Orioles’ two runs today, and they of course didn’t face Dickey on Friday. Yet the Orioles’ offense still managed seven hits (as opposed to Toronto’s four), so they weren’t totally shut down. However that was Toronto’s tenth win in a row, so the Orioles aren’t scuffling per se by any means. They’re running into a lightning hot team that can do no wrong at the moment (which might also partially explain Bautista thinking he could grandstand like that). Incidentally, when a team has an epically long winning streak like that and it eventually ends, it’s generally not pretty. They usually fumble around the field and commit numerous errors in the game, so at some point that will probably happen for Toronto; the O’s are just hoping it’s tomorrow.

If Buck Showalter truly doesn’t play the retaliation game, he has a decision to make now. Does he continue to not play that game, or does he decide to allow a pitcher to “stick up for the club?” Ultimately the idea is to win games, so if they opt to fire back and then lose tomorrow things won’t be spun in a pretty manner. Regardless of where you stand on unwritten codes of sports, I think it goes without saying that you probably shouldn’t yell at the pitcher when you’re rounding the bases on a home run. Baseball’s a game that’s supposed to be played by men, and Jose Bautista acted like a little boy in that regard. Zach Britton will start this afternoon’s series finale in Toronto, coming off of a very quality start in Detroit. He’ll be opposed by Josh Johnson.

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Tags: Baltimore Orioles Darren O'Day

  • ReasonableDem

    Very interesting – could a contributing factor be that the orioles are doing very well in the All Star Voting and players, including Batista are jealous?

    Greatly anticipating Zachs start today – I think he may have finally arrived – perhaps Brother Buck will be joining him in Baltimore before long.

    • Domenic Vadala

      Actually I think Britton will be starting tomorrow. It’s tough to say why they’re being targeted, but Bautista isn’t winning many beauty points in Baltimore. Thanks for reading!

  • Vic Ferrari

    Tell the whole story for crying out loud: O’Day was taunting Bautista after striking him out on Friday – that preceded the jawing from Bautista. Pay attention to the game. To portray O’Day as the classy one here is a joke.

    • Domenic Vadala

      If you watch the video, Bautista was chirping before O’Day said anything. Thanks for reading!

      • Vic Ferrari

        Bullshit. Watch O’Day’s reaction right after the K. You aren’t very good at practicing revisionist history. Showalter and O’Day both deflected the topic when asked about it too. But you go ahead and keep giving O’Day “credit” for his reaction – it may not fool anybody else, but if it makes you feel better then so be it.

        • Vic Ferrari

          From Baltimore Sun:

          On Friday night, O’Day struck out Bautista to end the seventh inning with the go-ahead run on second base in a tied game. After Bautista swung threw a full-count pitch, O’Day pumped his fist in excitement and said something into the air, to which Bautista took offense.

          That carried over into Saturday afternoon. As Bautista rounded third base after his homer, he gestured to O’Day with his hand, mimicking a talking mouth. O’Day responded with words of his own.

          “I told him just to keep talking like he was yesterday because he kind of ran his mouth a little bit after he struck me out,” Bautista said. “I don’t know where that came from, but I didn’t appreciate it. I let him know that yesterday, and that’s a little reminder today.”

          Asked about the exchange, O’Day wouldn’t comment, only saying that it was an intense moment between two competitive players.

          “It’s two competitive people competing,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “Darren has gotten him some and [Bautista’s] gotten him here and there. [They’re] two very competitive people who are trying to do well for their team.

          Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/orioles/bal-orioles-fall-to-blue-jays-42-after-jose-bautistas-tworun-hr-in-the-bottom-of-the-eighth-20130622,0,3074116.story#ixzz2X5NxIGrf

        • Vic Ferrari

          From this evening’s Baseball Tonight telecast on ESPN: Bautista with a bases clearing double, “This, a day after he took Darren O’Day deep – who was chirping at him on Friday.”

        • Domenic Vadala

          Whoa chief, if you’re going to post on MY COLUMN under NO CIRCUMSTANCES will you use that kind of language. You’re free to disent if you wish, but keep it civil or be gone. Secondly, the video shows Bautista crowing first…period.

          • Vic Ferrari

            You have a degree in revisionist history (maybe you haven’t noticed that you are the only person who shares your take on the event). You have no clue. PERIOD. Bautista looks back at O’Day after the childish reliever finishes his performance. Secondly, I’ll gladly be banned because I prefer reading non-fiction to fiction.

          • Domenic Vadala

            As I said, if you watch the video Bautista barked first. The Sun among other outlets can say what they want, but the film won’t lie. I would invite you to cease reading my column if you don’t like it. Let me be clear; dissenting opinions are fine. I expect that to a certain degree. It’s when you start exhibiting behaviors that you’re doing now that we get angry. Good day.

  • Peter Lowe

    O’Day definitely says something first right after the strikeout, and whatever it was seemed to offend Bautista. Who knows what it was. Bautista appears to say “What? What did you say?”.

    • Domenic Vadala

      If you want to interpret a skip off the mound as saying something then I suppose so, but that would be kind of like throwing at someone because he looked at you wrong. What you don’t see (because the camera pans away and the video cuts off) is Bautista starting to run his mouth. Thanks for reading!

      • JohnnyFearless

        Throwing at someone because he’s a sore loser? I wouldn’t expect him to act like Jason Hammel – that would be a douche move. What you don’t see (or don’t want to see) is O’Day shouting something right after he strikes out Bautista, and then Bautista asking him what he said.

        • Domenic Vadala

          Interesting that you’d call out Jason Hammel. Whether or not he was throwing at the hitter in the Detroit game is something only he can answer. However the fact is that Hammel threw a slider in that situation, whereas if you were going to hit someone on purpose you’d throw heat. However that aside the fact is that Bautista spoke first. IF he was ticked off at the little dance/skip O’Day did off the mound, he might want to consider how opposing teams interpret his teammate Kawasaki’s celebrations and actions. Thanks for reading!

          • Peter Lowe

            Do you have a link for this video for the O’Day strikeout? The link I posted shows Bautista turning and walking away before he hears O’Day shouting and then Bautista asked him what he said.

            A player taking a curtain call for his first major league home run in a home ball park is a good thing. Wil Myers of the Rays did it when he hit one against the Jays last night, and as a Jays fan I’m happy for him! Kawasaki hit his first major league home run (and probably his last) against the Orioles on Saturday before he did his curtain call. I didn’t see anyone complaining about it until I saw your tweet.

          • Domenic Vadala

            The clip that’s above shows O’Day kind of doing a skip-step off the mound and Bautista turning away muttering something. I don’t actually have a clip, but I know what I saw when the game occurred (which incidentally was five days ago now and yet people such as yourself are still harping on this) and I DVR the games so I can go back and watch them while I write my game recaps. Again, I know what I saw. Bautista’s a great hitter and he’s been a great player for Toronto, but his one fault has always been that he can’t seem to grasp that sometimes the opponent is going to get the best of him. That’s part of baseball.

            As for Kawasaki, you have to remember that baseball’s a stoic game. This isn’t the NFL where it’s acceptable to celebrate openly on the field. I’m not sure what the status quo is in Japan, but over here baseball players are expected to keep their emotions to themselves. Granted you could say the same about O’Day, but that was done in response to Bautista from what I saw. So yes by MLB standards Kawasaki’s “enthusiasm” is over-the-top. I suppose that he’s a fan favorite because he seems to go against the grain of that mold, however this game has unwritten codes. So let’s say for just one moment that O’Day did pump his fist first; if Bautista took umbrage at that would it not stand to reason that any opposing team could take umbrage and them some at what Kawasaki’s theatrics?

          • JohnnyFearless

            Your article was published on Sunday. That’s not five days.

            As for the O’Day/Bautista incident, it all happens in an instant and it’s obvious that O’Day shouts and pumps his fist immediately after the strikeout call.. but I guess you don’t want to look at the link I posted. That’s fine.

            As for the curtain call, I don’t know what to say because nobody else seems to care about fans calling for a curtain call for on a player’s first ever home run. It happens often and I’ve never seen any teams take issue with it. If it was someone like Jose Bautista coming out for a curtain call after every other home run, that’s a different story.

          • Domenic Vadala

            I watched your link, and it’s fairly evident to me that all O’Day did in that particular clip was half skip off the mound. As for Kawasaki, his wild celebration in walking off against the Orioles in May was a bit over-the-top. All of that excitement for winning one game? It seems to me that’s just how the guy carrys himself overall, which as I stated above grinds against the grain of very old-standing MLB traditions of stoicism.

            Sure that article was published on Sunday, but the original incident (the strikeout) occurred on Friday night. I think it would be best for all involved if you folks would just cease to post on this topic because this thread is going nowhere.

          • Peter Lowe

            Yes, because you know you’re wrong and you’re making a fool out of yourself.. ESPN and the Baltimore Sun. They have both proven that you probably didn’t watch the game and that you don’t know what you’re talking about. That is all.

          • Domenic Vadala

            Here’s the thing chief, I HAVE to watch every game. That means it’s a requirement as per my job as the Senior Editor of this site (the exception being when I’m in Europe starting next week). So yes, I did watch the game and I know what I saw during it and in rewinding and reviewing the play in question. ESPN can say what they wish, but I call things like I see them. You have two options so far as I see; you can either cease to read and/or post here and let it go, or you can petition the Fansided Network to have me relieved of my dutes as the editor of this site if you think my style of journalism is that slanted. The decision is yours, however it’s really pointless to continue this discussion.