Five outs recorded, two benches warned, and one manager ejected. Now that’s how you kick off a series.
In Friday’s contest between the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays, two coaches and one pitcher were ejected. Three batsmen were hit, and thousands of jeers were cast upon star Oriole, Adam Jones. A microcosmic perspective would touch on themes of a rocky Mike Wright outing or the continuing hot streak of Manny Machado. But something much bigger, much grander, and much more important happened during that game. A rivalry was cemented.
The Orioles and the Blue Jays do not like each other. And regardless of which team you root for, here is why this is so cool:
No one hates the Phillies or the Brewers or the Rockies. No one hates the NFL’s Jaguars or the NBA’s Timberwolves.
You know which teams garner hate?
The Yankees, the Cardinals, the Red Sox. The good teams.
The Blue Jays have not made the playoffs since 1993, and prior to three years ago, the O’s had not been since 1998. But now, here we are in June of 2015 where Toronto is not just leading the rest of the league in runs scored — they’re embarrassing them. Oakland scores the second-most runs in the majors and they trail Toronto by 69 total runs. Amazing.
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The Orioles don’t score quite as many runs as their Canadian competitors, but they are still good enough for 6th in the MLB in that category. Baltimore fields a team that is coming off a 96-win season and an ALCS appearance. And with AL Manager of the Year, Buck Showalter, on their bench, this is a team that has been injected with a winning formula.
Because of salary cap limitations and a division that houses Boston and New York, the O’s and the Jays may not be here to stay — but they’re here right now. Both teams have been on win streaks of 6+ games this month, and are immediate threats to win, what is currently, one of the closest division races in the game.
Where there is competition, there is tension. And in baseball, tension leads to reckless inside pitches, audacious bat flips, and more than a few pissed-off fans. When teams hate each other, it makes things just a little bit more fun. This is exactly where the Baltimore Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays want to be.
This morning, when asked about Friday’s ejections, coach Showalter spoke on the beaning of Adam Jones, saying “They don’t throw at bad hitters.” Which , I believe, in 60-year-old speak, translates to:
“If you got haters, you must be doin’ something right.”