Baltimore Orioles: MLB needs to control a few things


The Baltimore Orioles know all about Jose Bautista‘s celebratory antics – although that’s not the main idea of today’s column. We all saw Bautista celebrate his go-ahead (and eventual winning) home run with perhaps the largest bat flip in the history of the game. That of course came a moment after he stood at home plate for what seemed like forever. But Darren O’Day must be a villain for a fist pump – you get the idea.

The 7th inning of that game is nothing that baseball fans have ever seen, nor will they again. There were a lot of controversy, and a lot of confusion. Regarding the Texas run that was scored on the errant throw back to the pitcher, my personal opinion was that the call was incorrect. Yes O’s fans, I’m taking sides with Toronto here. I thought it was a bum call to allow that run. But even that isn’t the point I’m trying to make.

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  • Throughout the delay while the umpires sorted things out, the Toronto fans began throwing debris onto the field in protest of what was going on. Again, my personal opinion was that they were justified in thinking they were getting bamboozled. But that doesn’t justify throwing things like empty beer containers, cups, plates, etc. onto the field.

    Courtesy of Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports

    This is an issue that MLB needs to address, and immediately at that. They need to ensure that everyone involved is aware of the fact that it’s totally unacceptable for fans to behave like that. Furthermore, teams need to be held accountable for that type of decorum in the stands. And I’m not saying that simple announcements need to be made on the PA, or a graphic shown on Diamondvision. I’m talking bigger than that.

    If teams get to a point where they can’t control their fans, game forfeitures need to take place. And yes, I’m talking on the spot. I can’t say for sure how this process would occur, even though I’m the one suggesting it. I can say that I wouldn’t be in favor of the on-field umpires making that decision. Umpires are only human; if they’ve been getting the business from a team or even from fans all game long, perhaps they’re more inclined to call for a forfeit.

    So that decision has to come from the league office. And I’m not even sure what the threshold should be for game forfeitures in terms of unruly fans. However I would submit that what we saw in Toronto last night would qualify. And the sad thing is that while it’s reflective on Toronto fans, it’s not in any way indicative of their fan base. For the most part I’m sure that they’re decent people who enjoy seeing their team do well. But a few bad apples tarnishes it for everyone.

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    To the credit of Toronto (the team, that is), several players did come onto the field and ask for calm in the stands. However the whole throwing debris scene unfolded again after the Bautista home run – albeit it for a celebratory reason as opposed to one of protestation. And while Baustista did more than his fair share to show up the entire Texas Rangers team, he’s not to blame for causing that reaction. You can’t blame the player for what the fans did. Bautista’s an easy target to blame, and that’s his own doing. But he’s not at fault for the decorum (or lack thereof) in the stands.

    Mind you, baseball’s a stoic game. Apparently that memo’s been lost on some folks this year. Bautista doesn’t exactly come off as professional when he shows players up, and then complains about getting hit. The celebration on the home run trot seemed to upstage even the celebration at the end of the game when the series was clinched – which mind you in baseball circles is an acceptable moment to celebrate.

    I would mention that in a somehwat similar type of moment, we didn’t see the same type of showmanship out of the Orioles last season when Delmon Young hit his bases-clearing double to give the Birds the lead over Detroit in ALDS game two. The fans celebrated, the players high-fived, and the place rocked, but it never crossed a line. It didn’t throw caution to the wind in the name of expressive emotion. But I digress…

    Next: Baltimore Orioles: MLB bowed to pressure on Chase Utley

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