Baltimore Orioles: Are the Birds unfair in their approach?
We end up talking about unwritten codes fairly often when the Baltimore Orioles play Toronto. Having said that, I’ll be honest; I read a lot of different columns and even message boards every day. Somewhat frequently, I see fans of other teams talk about how the O’s are a team who feels it’s their duty to “enforce” the unwritten codes of the game. Do they have a point?
There are two manners in which one can look at this; the likes of Jose Bautista, David Ortiz, and others would probably say that if these unwritten rules are so important, someone should write them down. Until they do, they see no problem with showing up the other team on home run trots, and using dramatics to complain about being plunked.
However the flip side, and the side on which the likes of Adam Jones among others lines up, is that the unwritten rules are as old as the game itself and thus a part of the very fabric of the game. And I make no bones about the fact that I stand on that side of the fence. Do we really need to see guys moonwalking around the bases on home runs? Speaking for myself, I say no. And I have no problem with teams enforcing those rules – and yes that means plunking hitters.
But as I said, there’s a school of thought amongst some fan bases which says that teams like the Orioles are seen as going overboard with this. But does this apply to opposing teams as well. Perhaps in some cases; some of the comments Bautista’s made over time seem to indicate that he’s not thrilled with being told by the Orioles in a passive-aggressive manner how to behave. But…where does justice lie?
It’s a tough line to toe for sure. If you show someone up on a home run trot or something of the like, your general attitude is one of shock when the opposing team has an issue with it. Then there are some who say baseball players just need to grow up. I would agree – in the sense that you don’t celebrate like a school kid each time you do something great.
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But I digress – in reality should teams like the Orioles, Yankees, among others
Courtesy of Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
“tone it down?” By tone it down, I mean the criticism and/or sensitivty to the unwritten rules. I think you know what my answer is from reading the earlier parts of this article. However I would say this; ever wonder why Bautista plays so well against the Orioles?
Some guys have the ability to play better when they’re despised. Bautista knows the Orioles want to beat him. And he uses their disdain to his advantage. David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez did it for years as well. And if you look at the NFL, Hines Ward of the Pittsburgh Steelers had this ability with the best of them. While I don’t agree with the manner in which Bautista approaches the game, I do respect that ability.
In my own life, I’ve probably lost more as a result of disdain clouding my judgement than I’ve won. If someone rubs me the wrong way, I’ve often done everything in my power to beat them. And the worst part is that those people can generally see that I don’t like them – and they use it to their advantage.
For the record, this usually happens for legitimate reasons. I don’t just blindly dislike people, and neither do Adam Jones and the Orioles. But it can often be to your detriment if you take it too far – and I often do, for what that’s worth.
But keep in mind that the unwritten codes are in fact there for a reason. And they’re reflective of the values of American society in the golden age of baseball. Things were a bit kinder and gentler in that era. It wasn’t the era of instant gratification in which we live today…
…which is why guys didn’t pose after home runs, or savor their little moment as they rounded the bases. So while guys who do this today aren’t breaking the rules per se, they’re going against the grain of the way the game has always been. And yes, some teams aren’t cool with that. Nor should they be. ALL things should be done the right way – including winning.
Next: Baltimore Orioles: Inside the bad blood