Baltimore Orioles: Manny Machado in the Eye of the Storm – Again


Sep 23, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado (13) leans back to get out of the way of Washington Nationals relief pitcher Jonathan Papelbon (not pictured) pitch in the ninth inning at Nationals Park. Baltimore Orioles defeated Washington Nationals 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Make no mistake about it. Jonathan Papelbon is the most disgusting player in baseball. And this is not a view I have come to just this now after seeing him throw at the head of Manny Machado, not once, but twice. You see, it took two pitches to hit Machado because pucker-face wasn’t good enough to get it done the first time.

I am far from alone in this viewpoint of the jerk. Former teammates despise him. His reputation as irksome and combative with just about everyone is well-established. He dissed his old teammates in Philly, while in Washington the new clubhouse was, well, less than celebratory to hear he was joining them at the trade deadline. I’ll not link to the dozens upon dozens of articles that chronicle the continual oozing of crap that surrounds him. Google search it; it is all over the Net.

But it seems too that Manny Machado is never far from the center of a storm. Around baseball he is becoming one of those less than well-liked players with opposing fanbases.

Manny has made a few mistakes in letting his competitive spirit and emotions get the best of him—a fellow who is still younger than 90-something percent of all players. So there is that; and here on The Baltimore Wire we have been fair in pointing that out when it has happened. Call this about 25% of why he is in the midst of the storm.

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But I am going to say that the other 75% is a combination of a fiery desire to excel and win, along with the focus that is upon a player who (as of Wednesday night) is a 30-homer guy with the seventh-highest WAR (wins above replacement) stat in all of baseball.

The Machado competitive temperament was seen on Wednesday night in Washington. Early in the game he requested time at the plate but did not get it. He was furious with the rookie umpire (who did not have a good day at the office). Manny fumed about it, repeating that it was bull manure all of the way to the dugout, and he was still yelling several minutes later. Frankly, I’d rather see this than the Chris Davis oft-passive response of nothing more than a quick glance, even when he is unjustly called out on a pitch six inches off the plate.

So Machado was already annoyed, while at the same time another emotional player in Max Scherzer was pitching for the Nationals. He was approaching 120 pitches and attempting to get his final out of the evening by setting down Machado. Scherzer went for several walks around the mound, having just thrown 98 mph in the inning. He was hyperventilating like a bull seeing red.

With a 2-2 count on Machado, Scherzer was clearly muscling up to throw one past the O’s third baseman and get out of the seventh inning with a 3-2 lead. Obviously a four-seamer was coming, which it did at 98 mph, but catching the center of the plate. And Scherzer’s 122nd pitch of the evening was soon out of the park in left field, and the Orioles had a 4-3 lead that would prove to be the final score.

Machado did not appear to flip the bat or make a scene rounding the bases, but he was very pumped up about it, with a big gesture to the heavens when touching the plate. There was a good bit of pumped-up verbal AND body language as he returned to the dugout. Did this annoy the Nationals, particularly Papelbon? One would think so.

Pucker-face did not leave the dugout after getting tossed from the game—a violation. Flipping back and forth to both broadcasts, both were talking about how he was not supposed to be on the bench. Maybe the league office will yet have an opinion on this.

Bryce Harper might want to stay a bit nimble on his feet in the series finale on Thursday afternoon.

Next: Looking at how Yogi Berra performed against the Orioles