Oh Manny, Manny, Manny. What a weekend for the Baltimore Orioles against the Oakland Athletics, specifically for the Orioles’ young third baseman. They say two wrongs don’t make a right, but as Jack Handey once said, “Before we criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes.”
Before we get to the actions of Sunday, let’s rewind to Friday. During the third inning of Friday’s 4-3 loss to Oakland, Baltimore’s young third baseman was trying to advance to third but was tagged out in the chest by Oakland third baseman Josh Donaldson. Machado took exception to the tag, thinking it was a bit rough. As he was trying to avoid the tag, he lost his balance and slammed his helmet down on the ground, then started to jaw at Donaldson. Benches cleared but order was restored. Later, in the sixth inning, Baltimore starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen plunked Donaldson with a fastball.
As Horace once said, “Anger is a short madness,” and one might have thought that was the end of it, however we were greatly misled.
Saturday’s game brought an uneventful 6-3 Baltimore victory, but the fireworks didn’t start until Sunday.
With the Athletics up by 10 in the eighth inning, Machado took a Fernando Abad pitch a bit inside, enough to make him not so happy. The very next pitch was also low and in, right at knee-level, and as Machado took a weird swing at it, he let the bat go at the direction of Oakland third baseman Alberto Callaspo. Both players were ejected and we tried to figure out what the heck just happened.
If we rewind just a smidge to the sixth inning, Machado missed on a Scott Kazmir pitch and hit catcher Derek Norris in the helmet with his backswing. My assumption and hope is that it was an accident, but normally in a spot like that, you obviously know your bat hit someone in the helmet. What a normal person does is ask and make sure the person is OK. At least show some concern and/or remorse for said accident.
Machado did no such thing. In fact, Norris said he saw Machado smile afterwards. Norris would eventually leave the game as a precautionary measure, as he was feeling woozy.
At first glance you might have thought maybe Machado had a right to get mad for being thrown at, but from what it seems like, that close pitch was a retaliation for his actions around his backswing on Norris. Now, there are many unwritten rules in the game, and I don’t condone throwing at anyone, but it seems like that was what Abad did, and both he and Machado were tossed from the game.
Machado said, “The bat slipped out of my hands. Trying to make contact and the umpire thought it was intentional and he tossed me at that point.”
I’m not sure I buy that.
Up to this point Machado had been a decent human being, and while he might not have been Mother Theresa, he certainly never went all Milton Bradley on us.
We will see this week what happens in regards to a suspension. At press time, nothing had been released, but I’m sure something will happen. I don’t agree with Machado’s reaction to the tag from Donaldson on Friday and certainly don’t condone his tossing of the bat and his earlier failure to check on Norris after hitting him in the head with his backswing.
On the flip side, I also don’t condone the A’s for throwing at him (whether they will admit it or not). As I said before, two wrongs certainly don’t make a right, and in this case, neither offender was right. As the Korean proverb states, “If you kick a stone in anger you will hurt your foot.”