Manny Machado seemed to be the centerpiece connecting three major altercations between the Oakland Athletics and the Baltimore Orioles over the two teams’ weekend series in Baltimore. He clearly just needs to grow up. He is only 21, but if you are going to play in the majors you need to behave like a professional.
People in other professions do not go around flinging bats at their colleagues in anger. They’d more than likely end up in jail whereas it seems doubtful Machado will be fined. If Boston’s Brandon Workman can get a six-day suspension for not hitting Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria, one would think that with all the antics Machado pulled over this three game series, well it should be worse than that.
I’m not trying to blame any of the situations entirely on Machado, however, his reactions to what was going on around him were not that of an adult. He appeared more like a spoiled child.
Let’s start at the beginning which would be Friday night in the bottom of the third inning. Adam Jones hit a grounder to third and instead of throwing to first A’s third baseman Josh Donaldson applied the tag to Machado who was in between second base and Donaldson for the third out of the inning.
Machado seemed to take offense to Donaldson tagging him as when he was tagged he lost his balance and began to fall backwards. In the midst of the fall Machado took off his helmet and slammed it on the ground. According to Machado, Donaldson tagged him too hard but watching the replay that doesn’t seem to be the case. For Machado to react the way he did, jumping up and getting in Donaldson’s face, so much so that the benches cleared, seemed to be taking it a little too far.
Meanwhile Donaldson looked as though he didn’t understand Machado’s reaction to the tag. While it isn’t a normal infield play to just tag the runner that way, Machado was right there where he could easily reach him. It was the final out of the inning. A throw to first could have been offline, so it doesn’t seem too outrageous to just go for the easiest out. You can draw your own conclusions regarding the Friday night incident thanks to MLB.com.
Friday night Machado/Donaldson:
Later that night Donaldson was the victim of retaliation for the altercation during the top of the sixth inning. He was first brushed back off the plate with a fastball from Orioles’ starter Wei-Yin Chen. Chen then hit the A’s third baseman with another fastball. Donaldson quietly took his base however he did glance over at the A’s dugout as if to say, “did you see that?” It was pretty obvious that there was intent behind the both pitches.
The game was close and came down to a couple of guffaws by the Orioles. Nelson Cruz got called out trying to steal home with two outs in the bottom of the tenth and J.J. Hardy made an error in the 11th that allowed the A’s to score. The A’s won Friday night 4-3 in 11 innings.
After the game Orioles’ manager Buck Showalter did as he should have and stood up for Machado, it’s his team and his player. It was the right thing to do. Yet, after all the incidents that centered on Machado Sunday, one has to wonder if he’ll still be singing the same tune. Someone in a position of power needs to talk some sense into the kid.
Saturday passed by without incident, as least between the two teams. Machado threw a temper tantrum at one point when he was called out on strikes by umpire Angel Hernandez. The Orioles defeated the A’s in game two of the series by a score of 6-3.
Sunday brought out much more of Machado’s anger and immaturity. It’s not clear where this anger was coming from as the incident Friday night was not an extremely large one. It was certainly not to the point of “war,” which was David Ortiz‘s description of the issues surrounding him, the Tampa Bay Rays, the Boston Red Sox and Rays’ pitcher David Price. It seemed as though it was an isolated incident of Machado not wanting to be called out.
Unfortunately, this was not the case. In the bottom of the sixth inning on Sunday, Machado hit A’s catcher Derek Norris in his follow through. Whether it was intentional or not, Machado hit him hard enough to make Norris fall over backwards and be forced to leave the game to be checked for a concussion.
Hitting someone that hard in the head with a baseball bat can cause a head injury even with a helmet and mask on. It is definitely a known possible injury for a catcher to sustain. One of the A’s other catchers John Jaso was hit in the middle of the 2013 season and didn’t return until mid-spring training 2014 because of the after effects of a concussion.
The curious part of this was that Machado did not react to hitting Norris. To have knocked Norris over with the force of his bat to the point where the trainers had to come out, Machado had to have felt the contact. He acted as though nothing had happened.
Even if you have a problem with another player, and there is no known history of bad blood between the two, you should at the very least acknowledge that you hit the other person. Pretend to be concerned maybe because of the fact that you know you are being televised and your actions might reflect poorly on your team.
Apparently Machado has been spending too much time with Alex Rodriguez in Florida who would, more often than not, let his childish, prima-donna attitude come out while playing the game.
Later as Norris was being carefully walked off the field it was noted by many, especially on social media sites like Twitter, that Machado appeared to be smiling. Causing an injury to another person, player or even fan is not funny. Maybe it is to a super-star, 21-year old like Machado but not in the opinion of the public. Being a star in Major League Baseball is certainly makes a person subject to public opinion. You can follow the link to the video here to draw your own conclusions regarding Machado’s indifference to hitting Norris.
The drama does continue ladies and gentlemen. As the Ortiz and Price incident did, it brings to light the issue of baseball’s written and unwritten rules such as whether or not to retaliate against another player or team and how to go about doing so. That is a discussion for another time however because there is still more, yes more, controversy from Sundays game that needs to be addressed.
Cue the bottom of the eighth when Fernando Abad came in to relieve A’s starter Scott Kazmir. Machado was up to bat with two outs and nobody on base. Abad did pretty much what Chen did on Friday night. His first pitch, down and inside, narrowly missed Machado. Whether or not there was intent behind Abad’s pitch, it did not warrant what happened next.
On Abad’s next pitch, which was also inside, Machado appear to “swing” his bat and jump back a bit. The “swing” wasn’t much of a swing at all. He flung the bat with obvious intention either aiming (poorly) for Abad on the mound or possibly Josh Donaldson as the bat ended up flying past third base. It almost hit Alberto Callaspo who had taken over the position for Donaldson for the A’s defensive half of the inning.
Either way it’s taught, even in little league, that you do not throw your bat – whether you strike out or someone throws at you – anyone getting hit by that bat could be hurt. If kids know not to do it then so should Machado. His poor behavior and attitude should not be tolerated. It shouldn’t matter that he is young or a star player. The important thing is that you behave as though you are in the big leagues. Plus, I’m pretty sure baseball’s unwritten rules do not include throwing one’s bat.
Machado throws his bat:
Machado’s behavior has from fans of both teams as well analysts and other players around the league wondering, “what is this kid’s problem?” He made everyone involved look bad. Someone needs to talk to him and set him straight, whether a veteran from the team or Showalter. Better yet it should be Major League Baseball. Machado’s actions all weekend each warrant a suspension individually. Looking at them all together makes it even worse. Machado embarrassed not only himself but the entire Orioles organization.
Fortunately, no serious injuries resulted from these events. Norris should be able to be in the A’s line up against the Angels on Monday. The Athletics won Sunday by a score of 11-1 and took the series against the Orioles three games to one. It will certainly be interesting all the way around when the two teams meet again in July in Oakland.