Baltimore Orioles: Litigating bad blood

Courtesy of Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Courtesy of Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

If Baltimore Orioles players are targeted, should the Birds get tagged with a warning?

You might remember a gam

Courtesy of Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Courtesy of Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

e last season against Kansas City in which Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles was hit in the back. Davis emphatically slammed his bat down, as the Kansas City reliever had been having a tough night and appeared to pick Davis on whom to take it out. The pitch didn’t appear to be a mistake.

Buck Showalter came out of the dugout to protect his player, and the umpires attempted to defuse the situation by issuing warnings to both benches. This got Showalter upset, as first off his team is in essence being punished for having someone hit and literally doing nothing to deserve it. When he called for the Kansas City reliever to be ejected outright, the umpire responding by throwing him (Showalter, that is) out of the game.

So the irony of course is that the record shows that the only ejection in that situation was the manager of the team who in theory was wronged. The peaceniks out there are going to say that’s exactly why it doesn’t pay to argue, because even if you’re right at the end of the day you’re going to be wrong. I don’t buy that – I suppose I’m the type that’ll argue a point until the cows come home regardless of the situation if I think I’m right. 

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Chris Davis being put on Bobby Bonilla payout plan by the Orioles
Chris Davis being put on Bobby Bonilla payout plan by the Orioles /


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  • However that’s not my issue today. Notice what I said above; the umpires warned both teams. I find it sad that MLB has no stomach whatsoever for conflict. Don’t misinterpret my point here; conflict is tough to deal with, and it’s understandable why the league doesn’t want these bench-clearing brawls. However cut and run isn’t necessarily the right modus operandi either.

    By warning both benches you send a message that if someone else is hit by a pitch both he and his manager is gone. So if you’re the team that was initially wronged, why should you be punished when you didn’t do anything to deserve it? Because the league wants to avoid conflict at all costs.

    If letting bad blood stew is what it takes to avoid fights, that’s what the league’s going to do. And that’s not a good thing, folks. Because that bad blood festers and boils, and eventually it comes out ten-fold. Then you end up with a major fight like we saw a few years ago between the Cardinals and Reds. And that, I would agree, is bad for the game. But a little dust-up here and there sometimes needs to happen to avoid larger issues.

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    When Washington’s Bryce Harper was hit by a pitch in 2012, the umpires warned the Philadelphia bench. Later in the game Washington hit a Phillies player, and then the umpire issued a warning to Washington. That’s great umpiring, because that umpire knew it would do no good to try to avoid a conflict. Washington wanted and deserved to have their say in the matter, so he allowed it to happen. And for the most part, once these things are settled they’re settled.

    Warning both benches only gets the offended team more angry, and might even cause further problems in the game – such as a manager who’s otherwise innocent being ejected. In the circustance with Chris Davis, it just doesn’t seem right that in the entire episode it was the Orioles’ manager who was the only person that got tossed. And for a team like Kansas City that’s free with their emotions and feelings, that was probably a source of humor.

    Next: Baltimore Orioles: Scheduling quirk

    At the end of the day, trying to avoid a conflict often causes a bigger one. That’s true in world politics, and it’s true in baseball.