Peter Schmuck: ‘Manny Machado Was Childish’
All in all, it was a pretty bad weekend for Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado.
After getting into a dust-up with Oakland’s Josh Donaldson on Friday night – this after an argument about the force applied during a tag at third – Machado was ejected on Sunday after flinging this bat (many say intentionally) in the eighth inning of a 10-0 game, this after reliever Fernando Abad came inside on Machado on back-to-back pitches.
“My guess is that (Machado will) be suspended for two games for that,” Baltimore Sun columnist Peter Schmuck said on The John Feinstein Show. “I don’t know that they go much farther.”
Machado swung late at the second inside pitch, flinging his bat down the third-base line.
“I guess there’s a tiny bit of room for plausible deniability,” Schmuck said. “I’m not buying it. I mean, you watch the replay. He flung it. He didn’t just let go of it. It probably didn’t help him that Gary Thorne on the broadcast went on and on, saying it was clearly intentional and that he meant to throw it at the pitcher and not the third baseman.”
“I don’t know if that’s true,” Schmuck continued, “but what we have here is a very young player who’s very frustrated right now. He had such a great year last year, then he got hurt and he’s been out for basically six, seven months, and (he) has come back and he’s not the same player yet. He’s not the same player defensively, and he’s not the same player offensively. And you can see frustration building. He’s going to be fine from a competitive standpoint. He’s a highly talented player. He’s going to be a superstar, but this was a little bit childish. He didn’t have a good weekend.”
Schmuck isn’t entirely sure why Machado was mad at Abad to begin with.
“The pitcher threw two balls inside, but these weren’t headshots,” Schmuck said. “These were inside pitches at the knees. You’re allowed to throw there.”
But what do we make of Machado? Last year, he was in the same paragraph – if not the same sentence – as Mike Trout and Bryce Harper in terms of the top young players in baseball. This year, the 21-year-old is hitting .235 with four home runs and 11 RBIs. His OBP is also just .291.
Are the Orioles concerned?
“I think they’re probably concerned about what happened this weekend,” Schmuck said. “They’ve been saying up until a week or two ago that this young man is basically just completing spring training, and you can make that case. And he was starting to hit the ball. He hit a couple home runs recently. I think they think he’ll have a big second half and that he’ll be very productive this year.”
“But this situation, this is a whole weekend of him really acting out, which is highly unusual. He’s been a very subdued player. This is disconcerting, not because it’s unforgivable – players get in little dust-ups all the time – but that he’s that frustrated. And that sometimes snowballs on itself.”
Schmuck also attended the Belmont Stakes on Saturday. Many expected California Chrome to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978, but instead, he finished a disappointing fourth.
“It became apparent as they came out of the final turn down the back stretch (that) he wasn’t firing,” Schmuck said. “Everyone was wondering why he hadn’t gone more toward the front. At that time, we don’t know that his hoof’s bleeding and he had piece of his hoof chipped off in the stumble out of the gate with Matterhorn.
“The anticipation when you get to this point is huge,” Schmuck continued. “Absolutely it was deflating.”
And then it got controversial. After the race, California Chrome co-owner Steve Coburn called the owners of Belmont champion Tonalist cowards, saying they took the easy way out by not racing their horse in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.
Coburn has since apologized for his outburst.
“I feel his pain,” Schmuck said. “I think that there’s an argument to be made for changing the format of the Triple Crown, but you don’t make that argument by insulting the winners right after the race.”