Oriole manager Buck Showalter was fined an undisclosed amount and suspended for one game (Monday night in Tampa) as a result of the supposed intentional hitting incident involving Jose Bautista on Sunday in Toronto. Alfredo Simon was fined and suspended for three games, which is all currently under appeal. As I said, Showalter served his suspension (his was not able to be appealed). While a player is appealing a suspension, he’s allowed to play and remain with the team.
First off, I disagree with the punishments as handed down by MLB. I have a real issue with the fact that the Orioles are being held to the coals in this situation. Remember a few weeks ago when the Yankees and Tigers had a beaning incident and both benches were warned?…a NY pitcher still went on to hit another Tiger, and magically he wasn’t tossed. So this creates an impression now that the league is trying to make an example out of a team that’s out of contention. Furthermore, the suspension was handed down as the Orioles made their way to Tampa to face the Rays, a team that just clinched a playoff birth (against the Orioles). Hmmm…the league wouldn’t be trying to make the O’s play short-handed so as to give an added boost to a playoff team by chance would they? (For those who say that Simon isn’t an integral part of every Oriole game, I would also submit that a suspension forces a team to play short-handed; they can’t call up another player to take his roster spot.)
But that aside, the suspension is what it is. (I would also mention that Shawn Marcum, the Toronto pitcher involved, got fined for his part in the fiasco, although he wasn’t suspended.) As I said, Simon is appealing the suspension; the season in ending on Sunday. If the league doesn’t hand down a decision before Friday and the suspension remains in tact, it will carry over into 2011. So that would mean that the Orioles would go into Opening Day with the potential of having to play a man short on the roster (assuming that Simon is on the team of course). If the league really wanted to screw the Orioles over, they could render their decision after the weekend, which would require Simon to sit out for the entire opening series (assuming the suspension is upheld).
Ideally, the decision is rendered before this could become an issue, which would allow Simon to serve whatever part of his suspension is in tact right now. It’s a small point, however I would hate to see the O’s get off to a poor start next season because they have to play short-handed due to a petty issue that carried over from 2010. Being a bit of a maverick myself, I support every player’s right to appeal any fine or suspension. However I just hope that this doesn’t somehow come back to bit the Orioles in the rear come next season. I suppose my point is that I’m sort of wondering aloud what kind of moxie one small decision like this could bring upon the entire team. Odds are that even if Simon’s supension carries into 2011, it won’t make a huge difference, however you never really know until the time comes.