Baltimore Orioles: MLB needs to examine it’s warnings policy
Past tensions were brought up and very quickly extinguished in the Baltimore Orioles’ 10-2 victory in Toronto last night. Adam Jones was one of two Orioles hit by pitches, and unbeknownst to many people observing (myself included) both benches were warned in the seventh inning. The Orioles of course proceeded without further incident, with Jones sealing the deal for the night with a two-run homer.
Courtesy of Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports
MLB really needs to examine it’s rules and policies on warnings. There’s no doubt that this weekend’s umpiring crew was well informed on the previous incidents involving these two teams. Jones has found himself caught up in controversy, as has Toronto’s Jose Bautista, and the Orioles’ Darren O’Day. Toronto likes to complain about Bautista getting hit, however it’s fair to point out that Jones has been plunked by Toronto pitchers eleven times – as opposed to Bautista’s eight by Oriole pitchers.
However this isn’t about who started what with whom – the fact is that the only batters who were hit last night were on the Orioles’ side. During the game last night, I tweeted out that the umpiring crew was right not to issue warnings so as to give the Orioles their say. This was prior to me knowing that a warning had actually been issued on both sides.
Again, the umpires knew the history. So when Jones (a guy who’s been involved in previous theatrics) was hit, apparently warnings were issued to both benches. However in consistency with my comment above, that probably should not have been the case. Toronto very justly should have been warned in that scenario. But why warn the team that’s had their hitters plunked, taking away their ability to pitch inside?
It might be fair to argue that the umpires’ job is to avoid a brawl. And there’s no doubt that’s the right idea. However in basically taking a peace at all costs view point, you also risk something like this continuing to stew. So MLB seriously needs to consider if trying to prevent a fight regardless of anything else is the right thing. Luckily for them, the Orioles have a fairly level-headed guy in Showalter manning the dugout. But that’s not true with every team.
The point is that the Orioles in theory could feel that Toronto is being allowed to do them wrong, and they’re being punished for it. So at some later date someone might decide thaet it’s time to take action for that, and then it starts up again. I’m not suggesting that fighting is a good thing in games, nor am I suggesting that hitting people (purposely or otherwise) is a good thing. I’m just saying that sometimes in baseball – as in life – grievances need to be aired out. By trying to stop that, MLB is inadvertantly making things worse.
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If the umpires were so intent on keeping the peace last night, they should have taken the old school route of warning both benches when the lineup cards were exchanged. And even if they were to do that this afternoon, the Orioles would still in theory feel that they were being allowed to be targeted since they wouldn’t be given the opportunity to strike back. This might come across as frontier justice in a sense, but the fact is that it’s part of the game.
Toronto is a team that seems to thrive in these types of settings, and perhaps the Orioles know that. They (Toronto) come across as a group of guys who literally get stronger when they’re treated with disdain. They seem to be the exception to the rule in a sense, whereas a lot of teams lose focus when they get into these little kerfuffles. So is that why they so easily seem to play the agitator in these situations? It’s tough to say, but the fact is that the Orioles seem to find themselves with various bumps and bruises after series’ with their neighbor in the great white north.
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