Baltimore Orioles: Umpires need to issue warnings pre-game


Last night will be one that will be treasured for years to come in Baltimore and among the circles of the Baltimore Orioles. And personally I would submit that the long 17 year wait for a division crown and all the losing in between makes this season and this moment all the more special for fans. However there was an ugly back story to last night’s game which one hopes is now buried in the minds of both teams.

Long story short, Jose Reyes was upset at Caleb Joseph for inadvertently stepping on his hand on Monday, so Marcus Stroman threw at Joseph’s head in his next at-bat (both benches were immediately warned). Then last night with so much on the line, Nick Markakis had a fastball buried into his upper back area which loaded the bases. In the last of the eighth Darren O’Day said enough is enough and hit Jose Bautista in the his behind, at which point both benches were once again warned.

First off, I got a couple of emails from fans on this very topic this morning. I was somewhat surprised that the sentiments seemed to be that by retaliating O’Day did exactly what Toronto wanted the Orioles to do. However I would submit that regardless of the circumstances, at a certain point you have to stand up and inform your opponent that he can’t just walk all over you. And incidentally, O’Day did what he did using the proper methodology; he hit the batter in a very padded area of his body. This as opposed to throwing at someone’s head or landing a pitch in their back.

The best thing that the umpiring crew could do tonight is to issue warnings to both benches, pitchers, and managers when lineup cards are exchanged. The Orioles got their lick in last night, so in effect it would prevent Toronto from taking it further. But the O’s need to be very careful moving forward. Toronto is a team that obviously has no regard for the fact that they’re in a playoff chase of their own if they’re going to resort to tactics as such. That’s a team that probably at this point has more to play for than do the Orioles in the sense that they’re still fighting to get into the playoffs. However they did what they did on two nights in a row, which is almost mind-boggling.

So that tells me that for whatever reason they seem to have no regard for their own future or destiny in that they’re willing to throw games away to

Courtesy of Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

prove a point. (I’m not sure what the point is they’re trying to prove, but they’re trying to prove something.) So that’s something that the O’s need to take into account. I suspect that for the next week and a half we’ll see some regular guys getting rest. And I would submit that the first regular to get a chance to sit down will be Nick Markakis – after he was hit in the back last night.

Regardless of who sits when, my point here is that Toronto has proven that for whatever reason, they have a chip on their shoulders. And when it comes to the Orioles it seems as if it’s a big chip. While this may well be a footnote in the overall story of the Orioles’ season, it is a concern. I would submit that Toronto’s attitude was that they had carte blanche to do whatever they wanted to do because the Orioles wouldn’t want to get into anything given their stakes – until O’Day retaliated that is. So would any of us put it past them to try to start something else again?

Who knows – it might be a lot to be made about nothing. But given that chip on their shoulders, I would also submit that it probably didn’t sit well with them to have to watch the Orioles celebrate the division title last night. Again, could be much ado about nothing. However I think it would behoove the umpiring crew to issue warnings before the game even starts. It goes without saying that the O’s aren’t going to be looking for trouble moving forward; the question is whether or not they’re prepared to have one of their players injured in an “unfortunate incident.”