The recent suspension of Baltimore Orioles’ third baseman Manny Machado was upheld by Major League Baseball Monday. The suspension was a result of a play where Machado threw his bat towards the third base side after he was thrown at the previous pitch. The Baltimore third baseman clearly let the bat go out of his hands after the ball was by him, and the Oakland Athletics did not take kindly to the swing.
There are a few things to point out about what Manny Machado did. First of all, a player that intentionally throws a bat is lucky to only have a five game suspension. He is luckier in the fact that MLB even allowed there to be an appeal by Machado. While pitchers are scolded for intentionally throwing at a hitter, it is equally justified that a hitter should be reprimanded for throwing at a pitcher.
If Machado had wanted to make his feelings known, he could have walked toward the mound or instigated a discussion yelling at the A’s pitcher Fernando Abad. I am not saying that this would have been a more acceptable reaction, but it would not have brought on as much heat on Machado as intentionally throwing a bat.
As it turns out, the bat ended up down the third base line, and not towards the pitcher, although it is hard to believe that Machado was not in fact aiming for Abad after the previous pitch came in close to Machado’s knees. The entire incident was a continuation of Machado’s frustrations from a previous game in which Josh Donaldson put a hard tag on the Orioles’ young prospect. The timing of the errant pitch by Abad seemed irrelevant to the tag in the earlier game, but Machado had had enough.
For those of you that think five games are too much, I encourage you to go stand on a field and have a bat thrown at you. The reason the bat throw was not seen as malicious is because it didn’t hit anybody in the field. If the bat had struck the third baseman, let alone the pitcher, there would likely have been a longer suspension and more ramifications from the front office of Major League Baseball.
Machado was very well liked before this all happened. He appeared to be a fan favorite and a rising star in baseball. This incident may be forgotten by the casual fan later on, but I guarantee teams will not forget the act of violence displayed by Machado. Down by 10 runs in the 8th inning, there wasn’t much hope for Baltimore to stage a comeback. Had the game been closer, Machado may have responded differently.
Either way, nothing warrants throwing a bat. There is a drill that some coaches use with players where they release the bat at the front of their swing. This is to work on hitting up the middle and making solid contact. It is usually done in a batting cage or on the field where nobody is around. Machado took this to another level and tried to play it off as the bat slipping out of his hands.
After the bat came out of his hands, Machado looks right at the pitcher. He knew he botched his attempt and showed no remorse for what happened. It would be interesting to see how he would have reacted had the bat hit the pitcher, but luckily nobody was injured on the play.
Manny Machado bat throw no accident
Normally when a bat comes out of a hitter’s hands, it goes into the stands because it slipped out after a one-handed follow through. The only other time I have seen a bat end up close to where Machado’s did was in the 2001 All-Star game. Vladimir Guerrero swung and broke his bat that knocked over third base coach Tommy Lasorda. That was on a broken bat and not a bat that slipped out of Guerrero’s hands.
Manny Machado is lucky to have been playing the last few weeks and fortunate to not have injured an opposing player. Hopefully it was a one-time incident that is not a reflection of him as a person. He is a great young talent in baseball. There is no way to justify his actions, and only a clean career from here on out can possibly make fans think he simply over reacted.