Orioles third baseman Manny Machado’s reputation took a hit over the weekend after a series of on-field antics that culminated with a bat-slinging incident in the eighth inning of Sunday’s blowout loss to the A’s.
The 21-year-old Machado said the bat slipped out of his hands, but the umpire thought otherwise and ejected him. ESPN’s David Schoenfield writes that Machado should be suspended for at least five games, and Peter Gammons agrees.
Manny Machado must be suspended http://t.co/Mt7DzkBlo4. Could not agree more. Bat tossing? Hitting catchers with backswings?
— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) June 9, 2014
The drama began Friday, when Machado confronted A’s third baseman Josh Donaldson after what he perceived to be an excessively forceful tag. Orioles Manager Buck Showalter said Machado’s reaction may have been triggered by his concern about re-injuring his left knee. The benches cleared and Baltimore pitcher Wei-Yin Chen hit Donaldson with a pitch later in the game. Judge for yourself, but it looked like a routine tag to me.
On Sunday, Machado twice hit A’s catcher Derek Norris in the head with his backswing and the former Nationals prospect was forced to leave the game.
“Most guys [will say], ‘You’re all right?’ But if anything, I might’ve caught him smiling one time, which is kind of bizarre,” Norris told reporters after the game. “Not much cordialness coming from his side today, but it’s whatever. I don’t need a guy to tell me, ‘Are you all right’ for me to feel good about the situation, but I think it is courteous from one ballplayer to another when something like that happens to say, ‘You all right? My bad right there’ or something along those lines.”
Forget baseball’s unwritten rules; any player who can’t muster a ‘You okay?’ to the catcher in that situation comes off looking like a jerk.
In the eighth inning Sunday, A’s reliever Fernando Abad threw his first pitch to Machado inside and at the knees. On the second pitch, which was also low and inside, Machado swung and the bat went flying toward third base, where Alberto Callaspo had replaced Donaldson. The benches cleared again and Abad and Machado were both ejected.
“I think it’s sad that a player needs to take things to a certain level,” Norris said. “I don’t really understand it. Somewhere inside of him, he’s gotta know that he’s in the wrong at some point, whether it was from the other night or today. If you can’t leave here today thinking that you didn’t do anything wrong, I think something needs to happen, whether it happens internally over there or whatever it is.
“What he’s doing, it’s a disgrace to baseball, and I think it’s sad to see someone of his talent and of his national recognition to have that, and things like that stain your career. You look at a guy on their team, Delmon Young, for instance, who didn’t mean to throw the bat at the umpire a few years back in the minor leagues but it just happened that way, and that stained him for a while. Things like that, you could do everything right the rest of your career and there’s gonna be guys that still don’t have any respect for him, and I think that’s sad that people have to go through that.”
UPDATE: Machado apologized on Monday.