Baltimore Orioles: Keep your cool


The Baltimore Orioles will always have the temptation to lose their cool when tempted.

The Baltimore Orioles play in a sport which traditionally doesn’t necessitate trash talk. Unfortunately however, that’s starting to change. If you look around baseball, you see more and more guys along with more and more teams that serve as temptation for a team like the O’s to lose their cool.

I bring this up after watching the NFL playoff game between the Cincinnatti Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday night. Now mind you, the NFL is a totally different animal and it always will be. Trash talk and gamesmanship has always been a part of football, and it always will be – on every play.

Courtesy of Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Courtesy of Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports /

However similarly, you can’t lose your cool at any point in the game. Anyone who saw that game knows what I’m getting at; those teams are bitter rivals during the regular season, they had a brawl in their last meeting, and they just happened to draw each other in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.

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  • However the game will be remembered for it’s final two minutes more than anything else. A Bengals player was flagged for an illegal hit on a bang-bang play, and while he was down a Steelers coach came onto the field and (in my view) baited several Bengals players – resulting in one of them shoving him, drawing an additional 15-yard penalty. That put Pittsburgh into position to kick an easy game-winning field goal.

    Now in this particular case, my issue is that the Bengal player was the only one penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct. Nevermind that an assistant coach actually was in the Bengals’ huddle jawing at the players. However the fact is that you can’t lose your cool, especially at that level.

    And that brings me to the Orioles, a team that seemingly doesn’t talk trash or bait opponents. I suppose that’s easy to say, however ask yourself – do you ever see Oriole players starting something or trying to get under the skin of opponents? Unless someone takes exception to players going through the high-five line in the dugout after a home run, the answer is no.

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    So in an age where it’s becoming more and more fashionable to take the route of the Kansas City Royals or Toronto Blue Jays, the Orioles remain a fairly old school team. For the most part they seem not to take the bait put out there by opponents. Yes there was the situation between Adam Jones and Toronto’s Jose Bautista last year. But first off that didn’t get further than jawing at each other (and Showalter immediately lifted Jones from the game to avoid any further confrontation – Toronto can’t say the same with Bautista). However Jones was also taking up for a young teammate, that Bautista went out of his way to show up.

    The point here isn’t to call out Bautista once again per se. However there are a lot of guys like that out there who aim to get under the skin of opposing teams like the Orioles. Bat flips, excruciatingly slow home run trots, and empty words are all akin to the likes of Hines Ward’s smile, and Pittsburgh assistant coach Joey Porter invading the Bengals’ huddle. It’s all aimed at getting the other team angry enough to where they do something they shouldn’t.

    Now granted, in the game Saturday night (Pittsburgh assistant coach) Joey Porter literally broke the rules. It’s not against the (written) rules of baseball to slowly round the bases or anything else. All of it is inciteful for sure, but Porter crossed a line. Nevertheless, it’s all aimed at making the opponent do something stupid – and Porter succeeded at that.

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    At the end of the day teams like the Orioles need to be wary of the fact that people are going to bait them from time to time. Jose Bautista knows he’s not liked in the Orioles’ clubhouse. Heck, the same is true of the Kansas City Royals due to some of their showboaty antics. But make no mistake about the fact that those players will use that disdain to their advantage if given the chance. And the O’s should be aware of that.