If nothing else, Friday night’s 10-3 shellacking in Boston and the 8th inning fight between David Ortiz and Kevin Gregg will make the final two weekend games interesting.
Lord knows the Orioles themselves sure as hell couldn’t do it.
If you missed it, and since it was 8-0 in the first inning, you probably did, Ortiz and Gregg went at it in the 8th inning when Gregg buzzed a couple of pitches in tight on Ortiz and the big slugger voiced his displeasure. Then when he popped out, Ortiz basically walked down the first base line and Gregg, for some weird reason, took exception to that and started chirping at the big man. Then all hell broke loose, four players – including Gregg and Ortiz – were ejected, and the Orioles eventually went quietly in the night to lose 10-3.
Those are the facts.
Now here’s an opinion.
The Orioles look silly.
And they sound silly.
Gregg spouting off after the game about the Red Sox $180 million payroll and how “we’re going to try and do everything to win when we’re out there” made him look like a goof. First, it’s actually $160 million – but who’s counting at this point – and second, if the Orioles are REALLY trying to win, it’s sure not looking like it these days.
Bringing up the other team’s payroll is just sour grapes. I might be wrong, but I’m pretty sure I’m not, when I say that I don’t ever recall hearing the Tampa Bay Rays piss and moan about the payroll figures in New York and Boston when they lose a game or a series to the Yankees or Red Sox.
If I’m Kevin Gregg I’m mad…for sure…but I’m mad about the fact that when the Orioles had chances to spend “real” money on players over the last couple of years, they instead decided to shoestring it again. Like always, it seems…
Getting mad at the Red Sox because they made a smart deal for Adrian Gonzalez and then backed up the Brinks truck for him doesn’t connect with me.
Supposedly the Red Sox violated some of baseball’s unwritten rules in the first two games of the series. During a blowout on Thursday night, Darnell McDonald and Kevin Youkilis evidently lingered too long at home plate arguing a strike call from the umpire. Ortiz needed to feed the meter during his home run trot on Thursday night — he took so long to run around the bases — and in the first inning on Friday when he connected for a crushing 3-run dinger off of Zach Britton, Ortiz watched the ball disappear into the early evening sky like he was watching a fireworks display. I can’t imagine the Birds were overly thrilled by Matt Albers, who pumped his fist time and time again while striking out four Orioles during a Friday night relief appearance. Albers, you’ll remember, was jettisoned by the Orioles after coming over from Houston in the Miguel Tejada-Luke Scott deal, so he has reason – in his mind – to be a little overly enthusiastic when he shows up his old team.
Those are just the VISIBLE reasons why tempers might have flared on Friday night in Boston. Baseball players get mad at some really weird stuff. When you hit a home run, you can’t lollygag around the bases, that’s showing up the pitcher. But you can’t race around the bases either, for that calls attention to you and that’s not copacetic. Pitchers are allowed to throw inside on you to keep you off the plate, opening up the outer portion, but you’re not allowed to establish position and crowd the inner half to take away the outer part of the plate.
Baseball players and the nuances of the games are laughably archaic.
The real issue, at its core, is this: The Red Sox, while winning, appear to enjoy themselves just a tad too much.
And the Orioles, while losing their 19th game in their last 25 tries, are not enjoying this annual tailspin they’re currently experiencing.
It all makes for bad blood.
I get it.
I played a lot of sports in my life. When you win or your team wins, it’s fun. When you don’t win, it’s not much fun. As the great Charley Eckman would say…”It’s a very simple game.”
If I were Kevin Gregg or Matt Wieters, I’d be pissed off too.
I’d be pissed off that the club tried to solve their starting pitching woes by signing Justin Duchscherer in the off-season.
I’d be pissed that Vlad Guerrero has as many home runs over the last 25 days as Zach Britton.
I’d be pissed that July 9 has rolled around and the season, basically, has come to a screeching halt based on this latest free-fall that has dropped the club 15 games out of first place.
But taking that out on the Red Sox doesn’t make much sense.
Not to me, anyway.
It’s not David Ortiz’s fault the Orioles didn’t sign Adrian Beltre.
And it’s not Darnell McDonald’s fault the Orioles gave $700,000 to Duchscherer for what basically amounted to an “appearance fee” that golfer’s receive for showing up to play in a tournament, even if they’re not interested in winning.
And you certainly can’t blame Kevin Youkilis for the fact that when the Orioles get runners on the bases and in scoring position, the bats suddenly go as silent as Fox1370.
Kevin Gregg is frustrated. I understand that, completely. I’m frustrated too, having watched 14 straight years of losing baseball in Baltimore.
Gregg assumed he was coming to a team that would be somewhat competitive on Labor Day.
Turns out they were competitive on Memorial Day, and that’s about it.
But fighting the Red Sox and chirping about their payroll and offering flippant comments about how “they think they’re really good” is dumb.
Breaking news: The Red Sox ARE good. Really good, in fact.
If the Orioles ever got that good, I’d hope to hell we were cocky and arrogant too.
My memo to Buck and the gang: Just try to win a game for us sometime soon. That’s all we want. We don’t need you to fight the other team. Just win a f**king game sometime soon. That’s all. Thank you.