After Alex Rodriguez hammered a 2-0 fastball 15 rows deep in the left field seats to make it 13-3 on Saturday night, Matt Wieters trudged out to the mound to offer a comforting word to pitcher Josh Rupe.
Rupe MIGHT have said this: “I’m so mad about that grand slam I could throw something.”
Wieters MIGHT have shot back: “How about something that isn’t right across the middle of the plate?”
A-Rod’s 4-run tater was one of five dingers served up by Orioles pitchers on Saturday night, but it was another pitch thrown by Rupe in the 9th inning that had everyone stirred up.
Rupe, with his apartment in Norfolk ready for occupancy on Monday morning, hit Russell Martin in the upper back in the 9th. Martin had two of NY’s 5 HR’s on the night, in case you’re looking for me to set the scene. Then he was hit by a pitch. Rupe said afterwards it was a mistake, the same way Judge Smails said “It was an accident…it slipped out of my hands” after he threw that club from the 18th green and hit the old lady eating lunch in the movie ‘Caddyshack’.
It wasn’t an accident, of course. Rupe hit the guy on purpose. And then, with Mark Teixeira barking from the dugout, Rupe coughed up a 2-run HR to Brett Gardner to finalize the scoring at 15-3. I guess the Yankees figured, “If you all still want to play REAL baseball and throw at guys when you’re down 10, we’ll keep hitting and we’ll keep scoring.”
I don’t know if Buck Showalter called for the intentional back-ball. He wouldn’t say it even if he did.
But I do know this.
The Orioles need to start trying to beat these really good teams the old fashioned way…by scoring more runs and playing better baseball.
It was bad enough that Saturday’s bloodbath happened in front of 25,000 people in Yankee blue and 14,000 people with their tail-between-their legs in orange.
Once again, it was Yankee Stadium South in Baltimore.
But I get that. No one from Charm City REALLY wants to be there with 70% of those in attendance rooting for the other team. It’s the classic catch-22. Do I buy a ticket and try and change the environment at Camden Yards, knowing I really can’t change it and that I’ll be miserable by the time it’s 3-0 about 15 minutes into the game? Or do I just sit home and watch the wreckage from my couch?
Most watched it from their couch.
Me, personally, I stayed up for the whole thing, because I honestly thought something whacky might happen in the late stages as the Yankees ran up the score.
And I was right.
I don’t EVER advocate throwing at a player. It’s gutless, really. It’s one of the dumb things about baseball, these discreet, “didn’t-mean-to-do-it” efforts that almost always lead to *something else* happening at some point when the teams meet again. And because pitchers don’t ever face their American League East counterparts at the plate, it’s likely some other guy on the Orioles will pay the price for the decision to throw at Martin on Saturday. It’s one thing if Rupe says, “Eff this dude, I’m throwing at him and if they want to throw at me when I get up to the plate, that’s fine, bring it on.” But Rupe doesn’t bat in the AL and, therefore, it’s likely to be Matt Wieters or Nick Markakis who gets one in the hip in New York the next time the teams do battle up there.
I laughed this morning when I read some nitwits around town write and post stuff on various websites like, “I was happy to see Rupe throw at the guy. I like seeing us fight back a little bit. I like seeing the team not just lay down.”
Umm…”fight back a little” is better done when you’re losing 3-0 and you come back to take the lead, 4-3.
Throwing at a guy when you’re down 13-3 because you couldnt’ get him out twice before…that’s NOT fighting back.
In the old days of the WWE, Mr. Fuji would throw salt in his opponent’s eyes while the ref was arguing with Mr. Saito about coming into the ring too early. Throwing salt in the other guy’s eyes was Mr. Fuji’s way of “fighting back”. Get the message? It’s dirty pool, just like throwing at someone is dirty pool and completely unncessary when you’ve been stuck in losing-gear for the last 13 years and haven’t sniffed a winning season since Clinton was the President.
Like I said, though, I understand that it’s all part of baseball lore and the “unwritten rule”.
It’s stupid and cowardly and, frankly, stinks of desperation, but I get it.
Hopefully the Orioles will get their act together today and beat the Yankees in the actual game of baseball. That would be a lot better than not only watching the team get squashed last night, but seeing them stoop to the lowest of lows…intentionally putting another player in danger because you weren’t good enough to beat them on the field.