The Donaldson-Machado rivalry will continue in 2015
By Mike Franz
Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
June 6th, 2014. The Baltimore Orioles hosted the Athletics on a Friday evening in game 1 of a three-game series. In the bottom of the third inning, the Athletics led the Orioles 2-1 with Adam Jones at the plate. With two outs and Manny Machado on second base, Jones hit a weak ground ball to third baseman Josh Donaldson.
That is when things got testy.
Machado ran on contact and when Donaldson fielded the ball, he easily tagged Machado out running for the third out. Machado fell down trying to avoid the tag and as he fell he slammed his helmet to the ground in disgust. Donaldson was shocked to see this and was even more shocked when Machado got up in his face and started with some salty language. Both benches cleared as the two were separated.
Machado either thought Donaldson tagged him a little too hard or he thought it was not proper baseball etiquette to tag him out when the third out could have been made at first base.
Either way, the feud continued that Sunday in the final game of the series. The Orioles were losing 10-0 in the eighth inning when Machado stepped up to the plate with two outs. The first pitch of the at-bat was a fastball. The pitch was so inside that Machado had to jump out of the way. After which, he stared down the pitcher for several seconds.
Machado swung at the very next pitch. However when he followed through with his swing, he intentionally let go of the bat as it flew in the air and landed near third base. Whether Machado intended for the bat to end up at the pitcher’s mound or third base, it did not matter to the Athletics as they confronted Machado at the plate which resulted in both benches clearing for the second time in the series.
Machado was quickly ejected after the situation cooled down. That was not the end of this rivalry. Almost an entire month after the incident, Major League Baseball upheld the ruling on Machado’s five-game suspension because he threw his bat intentionally.
When the Athletics and Orioles met in late July at Oakland, their fans did not let Machado forget about what happened and voiced their dislike for him. Machado was able to extract a little revenge in the first game of the series when he hit a two-run home run to give his team the 4-2 lead in the seventh inning.
After that series, Donaldson and Machado did not see each other again in 2014. However, with the Blue Jays recent acquisition of Donaldson to their Major League roster, the two will see a lot more of each other moving forward in 2015.
Now pitted as division rivals, the Donaldson-Machado rivalry may just be getting under way.