Courtesy of Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Tempers flare in Baltimore Orioles’ loss


There’s not much to write about when the team one’s covering loses 11-1. Or is there? I’ll get to that (and by that you know what I mean) in a moment, but before I do I want to try to do some semblance of a game recap. It’s tough to say that Ubaldo Jimenez put the team in a position to win yesterday. Jimenez’s line: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 6 R, 5 BB, 2 K. The five walks are the killer there – when all was said and done Baltimore Orioles pitchers had issued 11 in total.

Jimenez walked the first three hitters in the third, and John Jaso proceeded to hit the next pitch out of the ballpark. Or he appeared to at least. Buck Showalter asked for a review, as the O’s felt that the ball hadn’t cleared the back wall. (For the record, the O’s weren’t charged a challenge since the play involved a home run and all home runs are reviewed.) The challenge was sustained, and Jaso was awarded with a two-RBI double.

However Brendan Moss smacked a real grand slam later in the inning, and Oakland had a 6-0 lead. So in a sense, the Orioles would be been better off not not asking for the challenge. Go figure; it’s almost similar in a sense to when teams hit against the shift. Things aren’t supposed to work out that way, but they sometimes do. Oakland would tack on five extra runs as the game wore on, and the O’s finally got on the board in the last of the eighth when Chris Davis drew a bases-loaded walk.

So one question that now lingers is whether or not Jimenez can go on in the rotation. As I’ve said in the past, the O’s can’t simply outright him because they’d be paying him for the next three years plus to play for another team. The bullpen is also an option, however that remains to be seen. Josh Stinson was lifted from Norfolk’s lineup today, and I suspect that a roster move will be made involving Stinson prior to tomorrow night’s game.

So now, the part of the game that everyone’s talking about. We all know what happened; Manny Machado was pitched inside by Oakland reliever Fernado Abad, his bat went flying up

the third base line, the benches Scleared, and both Abad and Machado were ejected. So…what gives?

This of course goes back to the incident with Machado and Josh Donaldson on Friday night. Was Abad throwing at Machado? In my opinion he was, or at the very least he was pitching Machado inside. But that’s not the issue at hand; the real question is whether or not what happened with Machado was the right call on the umpires’ part. The umpires deemed that Machado intentionally threw his bat in anger.

After the game Machado insisted that the bat slipped out of his hand.

It is in fact possible that the bat flew out of Machado’s hands. It’s tough to judge intent, although umpires seem to be good at it in terms of who’s throwing at whom. Many people argue that it didn’t look good; and in fact it probably didn’t. However I would mention that MLB rules state that throwing equipment (presumably in anger) is an automatic fine. The rules say nothing about a player being ejected for throwing equipment.

That may be semantics, and it may also be an unpopular position. Granted it’s the discretion of the umpire whether or not he allows any player to stay in the game across the board. However in terms of whether or not Machado draws a suspension as a result of this that might be something Orioles fans would hope that the league office takes into account.

Afterwards Buck Showalter was fairly non-committal on the entire episode, whereas Oakland players were a little less charitable. John Jaso felt that Machado was disrespecting the game based on his actions. What I can tell you from observing Manny Machado is that he has a great respect for the game, and he plays it with a bravado that’s rare for someone his age.

Having said that, this might have more involved in it than simply the situation from Friday night. Derek Norris had to come out of the game due to being ticked by Machado’s bat on the backswing. According to Norris, Machado failed to apologize for this – and that’s apparently code among players. On the flip side, Abad also threw towards Machado’s knees, which are obviously parts of his body of which he’s fairly protective (right now).

Ultimately, this was a misunderstanding on Machado’s part (on Friday) that unfortunately ballooned into what we saw yesterday afternoon. Going back to whether or not Machado threw the bat on purpose, I would say that if I had the surgery that he did and had worked so hard to get back, I might throw a bat also if someone threw at my knees.

Whether or not Machado receives a suspension remains to be seen. If he does, he’ll probably appeal and perhaps have the suspension knocked down by a game. I wouldn’t say that Machado is blameless for what happened this weekend, however I don’t see him as a disgrace either.

Bud Norris will get the starting nod tonight as the O’s turn their attention to Boston who comes in for three games. Norris will be opposed by Boston’s Jake Peavy.

Tags: Baltimore Orioles Manny Machado

  • SonsofLombardi

    As a Manny enthusiast since his time in Delmarva (I live near Salisbury) I have to admit I was embarrassed by his behavior this past series. The tag by Donaldson on Friday was legit and Manny’s response a little dramatic. However, since it was out of character for him I chalked it up to frustration. However, on Saturday night when the ump called him out on strikes and Manny slammed his helmet and bat I had to agree with Donaldson’s assessment from the A’s dugout. (If you recall the cameras showed him clearly mouthing “f’ing pr*ck”). Yesterday’s bat throw was completely immature and reckless. The fact that he tried to deny it after the game made him look even more childish. Heck, even Gary Thorne sized up the situation accurately the moment it happened. I think Buck needs to conduct a Manny-vention ASAP to nip this in the bud. I actually hope MLB gives Manny a short suspension to serve as a “time-out” to get his head straight. This team is struggling enough already. We don’t need the drama and negative attention.

    • Domenic Vadala

      I can’t speak to what Gary Thorne said or what Machado lipped during the game, because I can’t always see the MASN feed. That aside, I would suspect that Showalter has already had a discussion with Machado regarding some of this stuff. Regarding a suspension, keep in mind that as I said what he did merits an equipment fine. Furthermore, David Ortiz wasn’t suspended last year for destroying a phone (in Baltimore ironically) on the dugout – a situation that probably posed a much greater threat than what we saw yesterday. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets some sort of modest suspension, but only because we now live in a society where losing your cool under any circumstances appears to be a no-no. And I say that as a person with a fairly vicious temper himself. Thanks for reading!

      • SonsofLombardi

        To clarify, it was Donaldson that mouthed the observation.
        I agree that Ortiz’s Hulk smash was poor sportsmanship but he didn’t throw something onto the field of play and/or show probable intent to direct an object at a specific player. While it was a much more over the top incident, Delmon Young was suspended 50 games in the minors for throwing his bat and hitting an ump.

        • Domenic Vadala

          If MLB was to go that route they would then be admitting that they’re in the business of judging intent because Young hit someone and Machado didn’t. As for Ortiz, I would submit that given the proximity to guys on the bench, his incident was more dangerous. If you watch the video of that a splinter of the bat almost hit Dustin Pedroia. All of this is semantics, and ultimately I suspect that a meeting of the minds between Showalter and Machado will set things straight. If he does get suspended, I would say that he should just serve the suspension and be done with it. If he’s suspended and he appeals, odds are he’ll end up sitting out for much of the Toronto series when all’s said and done – and I would submit that the O’s need him more against a team they’re chasing right now. (Having said that, if he’s given north of a four-game suspension for this I would definitely appeal – punishment has to fit the crime, if in fact it’s deemed a “crime.”)

          • SonsofLombardi

            But the MLB already factors intent into the evaluation of player suspensions. The Red Sox Brandon Workman was suspended for six games earlier this season for throwing behind Evan Longoria (ie- not hitting him). Workman contended the ball slipped out of his hand but Torre/MLB evaluated that the intent was retaliation for Price hitting Ortiz.

          • Domenic Vadala

            Okay but see you’re missing the point – intentionally throwing at someone is something that will get you suspended. According to the rules, throwing a bat is an equipment fine. So if they want to go by the rules, they’ll ding him on the fine and that’ll be the end of it. However I also recognize that most “authorities” generally have license to apply rules as they see fit. Right or wrong, that’s how it works. It would also be worth mentioning that Machado has never run into something like this before, so his past track record might play into it. If something like this happens again they might start to see a pattern and ding him further.

          • SonsofLombardi

            Correct, throwing equipment is subject to a fine. What you’re failing to distinguish, however, is that this isn’t simply throwing equipment. Throwing equipment would be Manny slamming his helmet and throwing his bat down Saturday night. In fact, the rules on equipment throwing don’t apply to the bat slipping out of a batter’s hand. For example, when later in the game Chris Davis had the bat slip out of his hand and it flew into the stands he wouldn’t be subject to a fine. This happens all the time and players are not fined, even if it does go into the field of play. If the bat just slipped out of Manny’s hands and there wasn’t a perception of probable intent we would not be having this conversation. It’s the events leading up to the incident that give an air of intent to the action and make it more than possibly just a fine-worthy offense. I’m not trying to belabor the point, but rather to distinguish how this is more than just a “throwing equipment” issue. If Manny is suspended it isn’t unjust. From what I have read most of the MLB universe feels this way as well. I suspect a large percentage of O’s fans do too.

          • Domenic Vadala

            If they suspend him they’re saying that he intended to throw the bat. If that’s true, then the penalty should be an equipment fine. Of course they don’t fine people for the bat flying out of their hands. But again, if he’s suspended they’re indirectly breaking their own rule. I suspect he will be suspended, and as I said most governing bodies will knowingly take liberties at various occasions with their own rules. If you remember a few years ago, umpires reversed an out call at first base in a game against Detroit – causing Mark Reynolds to slam down his glove in disgust. He was ejected for that (and the league later admitted indirectly that what he did should have just been an equipment fine). Ultimately they should remove the emotion of the moment from the situation; if they do, the rules state that throwing one’s equipment is a fine. But unfortunately I don’t think that’s how it’s going to go – once the context of emotion is put back into the context, it’s a different story.

          • SonsofLombardi

            Okay, but by your own interpretation of the rules “intentionally throwing at someone will get you suspended” when it’s a pitcher throwing a pitch because the intent to hit someone was there. However, a pitcher throwing a ball into an open outfield space (ie- not intending to hit someone) because he is frustrated for being taken out of a game would be fine-worthy (ie- throwing equipment). The perceived intent to hurl the object at an opposing player gives a different dimension to this incident. (If Workman was not perceived as being retalitary with his wild pitch nothing would have been done to him.). If they buy Manny’s line about the bat slipping then they most likely won’t do anything because that is not a fine worthy offense. I think your logic is faulty on this one, but we’ll just have to agree to disagree. If MLB suspends Manny I think they have the rule legitimacy to do so. It will be interesting to see what they do.

          • Domenic Vadala

            Ultimately they can do what they want to do in all situations. Baseball is the only sport in which we see the commissioner playing the whole “for the good of the game” card. Odds are he’ll be suspended for some period.

          • SonsofLombardi

            Agreed, although the NBA (e.g. Sterling forced to sell his team) & NFL (e.g.: suspensions for criminal justice system involvement even when not formally charged like Rothelisburger suspension a few seasons ago) do enact similar authoritarian-like consequences in the name of “the good of the game”.

          • Domenic Vadala

            It’s a fairly new phenomenon in other sports. I’m not sure I fully agree with it either.

          • Rick

            He threw the bat intentually. The ball had already past him when he threw the bat. I hope he finds out those agrevated act’s are not part of the game.

          • Domenic Vadala

            I would tend to think he threw it in anger but not really at someone per se.

  • JoePapey

    Can’t believe you’re defending him Domenic, and splitting hairs on rule interpretation like President Clinton. You know what Manny did was wrong and that there’s no place for such behavior in baseball. I don’t blame him for not admitting his intent as that would result in a definite (and probably longer) suspension. He should be suspended though. And once he is, he should accept it, apologize and move on. You, (on the other hand) should have the fortitude to stand up for what’s right, and not weave your way though a “semantics maze” to try to bolster your position. It smacks of “homerism” or, (worse yet), a reporter whose lost his objectivity in the hope of getting cooperation when he walks into the home clubhouse.

    • Domenic Vadala

      I understand your point there, but mine is that the rules are the rules. We can judge intent all day long, but when we go outside of the rules to enforce the rules, who are we really serving? I think he threw the bat in anger, but not necessarily at someone per se. I’m not defending him per se, but what I’m saying is that there’s a rule on the books for throwing equipment. It states nothing about suspensions but only fines.

      For the record, I’m not a homer. I merely said what the rules state for equipment violations like that.

      • JoePapey

        Regarding your comment: “I’ll put it this way – as a person with a bit of a temper himself, I’ve flung many bats at people over time (in a figurative manner of course – that’s not to be taken literally). But I’ve also done so knowing the nuances and loop holes of the situation and what I was doing so as to have an out at the end.”

        After reading your pathetic article and your straw-arguments that followed, this comes as no surprise.

        • Domenic Vadala

          I’m not defending him by the way, I’m simply pointing out what the rules state. I also recognize that sometimes the powers that be go outside the rule book to enforce what they see to be justice.

          If you don’t like my “pathetic article” then I would invite you to simply cease to read Birds Watcher for Orioles news. I’m the Senior Editor of this site, so the buck stops here and will continue to do so regardless of what your take on my article(s) or anything else that appears on this site might be. So you have two choices; either continue reading my “pathetic articles” and go elsewhere for news about the Orioles, or continue to be ticked off by reading here. Your decision – choose wisely.

      • JoePapey

        With regards to you post: “I’ll put it this way – as a person with a bit of a temper himself, I’ve flung many bats at people over time (in a figurative manner of course – that’s not to be taken literally). But I’ve also done so knowing the nuances and loop holes of the situation and what I was doing so as to have an out at the end.”

        Based on the position you took in your article, (and how rigoursly you’ve defended it), your statement above comes without surpise…

        • Domenic Vadala

          Again, decision is yours. My recommendation would be to read elsewhere because it’s obvious this site isn’t working out for you.