In looking at the Manny Machado suspension, are the Baltimore Orioles a team that’s targeted to be “messed with” by MLB?
Some folks will read this Baltimore Orioles article and suggest that it’s just typical of Baltimoreans having a chip on their shoulders. Maybe it is for all I know. However don’t look at it in that vain; consider what I’m saying and ask yourselves if it’s possible that there’s some truth to it.
Manny Machado was suspended four games for the brawl with Kansas City’s Yordano Ventura – who was suspended for nine games. However of course as we know, Ventura’s nine game suspension represented only missing one start. While he was being suspended without pay for those nine games, wasn’t eligible to be with the team, etc, he was only missing one turn in the rotation.
As we also know, Ventura’s suspension was eventually taken down to eight games. It still represented one turn in the rotation, however he was eligible to return to the team (and to collect a paycheck) one game earlier. Incidentally, this was negotiated between the player’s union and the league – Ventura didn’t even have to go to an appeal hearing. When Machado’s party asked for the same courtesy, the league was unwilling to do the same.
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So from the standpoint of many Orioles fans, Machado was in fact painted as the villain in a situation that in fact he didn’t start. I don’t buy the attitude which says Machado could have just taken first base and not caused a scene. That’s blaming the victim, folks. If someone takes a cheap shot at you in public, you’re well within your right to hit back with equal force in self-defense.
Now with all of that said, the Orioles have also had their differences with MLB over the years. So…is there something else going on here? During the 1994 players’ strike there was one owner who supported the players’ union, and that was Peter Angelos. I’ve heard rumors over the years that many people in the commissioner’s office look at Angelos begrudgingly to this day as a result of that. That was a long time ago granted, but work with me.
As the call for baseball in Washington got louder, Angelos became more and more protective of what he deemed his territory. Now I’m on record as saying that I always felt that the nation’s capital should have always had a team, and I still feel that way to this day. However from a strictly business perspective, one can understand Angelos’ point. Whether they truly considered themselves Orioles fans or not, for years and years if Washingtonians wanted to see major league baseball they were coming to Baltimore.
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When push finally came to shove and DC was going to get a team, Angelos agreed not to sue the league in exchange for his mid-Atlantic Sports Network getting the TV rights to Nationals’ games…in perpetuity. While from a business perspective Angelos’ investment was in danger in a sense, many legal voices agree that had they gone to court he would have had no case in preventing a team from going to Washington. So needless to say, he fleeced the league in those negotiations.
Fast-forward to now, and we have MASN, the Nationals, and MLB fighting over how much the teams get in rights fees. Not only has MASN seemingly beaten the league in court, but they’ve publicly embarrassed MLB at times as well. A lot of the league’s dirty laundry has come out in public due to this case, something that MLB probably resents.
So again, is it not possible that the league picks and chooses how it “gets back” at Peter Angelos? Mind you, I’m not suggesting that this is right or fair. I’m just saying that it’s possible. Baltimore was also apparently going to be awarded an all-star game in the near future, but that was called off in a very rushed manner. In fact, the league seemingly committed to giving NL parks all-star games in various consecutive years just so that they didn’t have to hold it in Baltimore.
The fact is that the resentment for Angelos in the league office is high. And in no way am I suggesting that this is Angelos’ fault. Quite the opposite. While he’s never been perfect as a team owner, he doesn’t allow the powers-that-be to walk on him. I respect that.
However it just comes off to me as sometimes the league takes opportunities to let their opinion of the Orioles’ owner be known without actually letting it be known. It’s ridiculous to me to think that Machado could be marketed into the aggresor in that situation – yet in how they seemingly handled the discipline, that’s how it came across.
And the same is true of the all-star game. Why was that suddenly moved out of Baltimore before it was even awarded? Whether or not you side with Angelos or the league, there’s something strange going on there.