I truly have no clue as to what Manny Machado was trying to prove this weekend in the series against the A’s. I understand the fact that he didn’t appreciate getting thrown at, especially at his newly reconstructed knee, but come on dude you’re acting like a child.
This isn’t necessarily out of character if you watch Manny Machado on a daily basis. Even before the incident with Donaldson on Friday I knew Machado was going to blow up at some point. His frustration level is at an all time high whether it’s a result of poor performance personally, poor performance of the team, or maybe he’s just an immature, angry dude.
Last season Manny could do no wrong. He made the game look easy. He crushed doubles into the gap like no one’s business. No one had played third base as well as him since Brooks Robinson in all of Major League Baseball.
Then the injury occured.
His first sense of real adversity in the Major Leagues was undergoing a serious knee injury and needing to rehab hard in the offseason to get back in time for April baseball.
And he did just that. ESPN’s injury expert Stephania Bell chronicled Machado’s rehab sessions and spoke highly of his character and his will to get back to full strength.
Then he hit the lights out on his incredibly brief rehab stint in Frederick.
However, once he got back with the Orioles it was a different story. I expected Manny to struggle early on especially with getting his timing right at the plate. And that’s exactly what happened. Maybe Manny didn’t anticipate the struggle because his frustration levels have been off the charts. He’s thrown his helmet a handful of times after a ground ball out over the past month and he’s done it after getting called strike three’s. These are relatively normal things that happen in baseball and I would wonder if this is how he reacted to basic baseball situations what was going to happen when something REALLY gets under his skin.
It was clearly evident that Manny Machado was in the wrong on Friday night in his incident with A’s third baseman Josh Donaldson. Donaldson himself is a bit of a provocative figure as he is known to instigate situations, but on the tag play with Machado on Friday Manny simply overreacted to a legitimate baseball play. His reaction caused the benches to clear and Donaldson was hit later in the game by O’s starter Wei-Yin Chen. Was that on purpose? Maybe but maybe not. Nevertheless it set the stage for Sunday afternoon’s clash.
The incident yesterday with the relief pitcher Fernando Abad understandably frustrated Machado. Getting thrown at twice in a row I’m sure isn’t a pleasant feeling. However, it certainly does not excuse the behavior he exhibited when he threw his bat. It’s absolutely absurd and morally wrong that he came to the decision to fling his bat, which was intended to hit the pitcher if he had better aim.
What may be the most inexcusable aspect of this entire debacle was the fact that he didn’t own up to his transgressions. He claimed that it was accidental and that the bat simply slipped out of his hands. I highly doubt that. I’m extremely concerned that Machado is oblivious to his role in each of the bench-clearing situations.
Own up to your mistakes Manny. If you want to be known as a hotheaded, overly aggressive ballplayer go right ahead. However, don’t be surprised this offseason if you don’t get that bump up in pay that you were pleading for this past offseason. I certainly wouldn’t give you a raise right now and I don’t think Dan Duquette will be incredibly enthused to give you a pay raise arbitration forces his hand.
Learn to handle the adversity. This isn’t the last time you’re going to encounter it. Manny being Manny won’t cut it anymore, be a pro.