Manny Machado: Is Five Games Enough?
On Tuesday, June 10th, Major League Baseball slapped Manny Machado with a five game suspension for the events that occurred in a game on Sunday, June 8th against the Oakland Athletics. Even before Sunday’s activities, Machado was involved in some other outbursts in Friday night’s game.
In the third inning of Friday’s game between the Oakland Athletics and the Baltimore Orioles, a ground ball was hit to the A’s third baseman, Josh Donaldson. As Machado ran from second to third, he attempted to avoid a tag by Donaldson, who made sure he got the out by placing a tag squarely to the gut of Machado. Machado became slightly off balance and threw his helmet at the feet of Donaldson while voicing his displeasure of the tag. This led to the benches clearing and plenty of chatter between teams.
In Machado’s next at-bat, he smashed a home run to centerfield which most people thought was his retaliation for any wrong doing that Donaldson had done earlier. However, when Donaldson came to the plate in the 6th inning, starter Wei-Yin Chen threw two high fastballs near the head of Donaldson with one hitting him on the forearm.
Even with the fireworks during Friday’s game, it wasn’t until Sunday when things began to spark once again. During the 6th inning, Machado hit A’s catcher Derek Norris with his back swing, TWICE! Neither time did Machado ask Norris how he was or check on him. He simply acted as if nothing happened and smiled. Two innings later, A’s reliever, Fernando Abad, threw a pitch on the inside of the plate that was clearly to the distain of Manny Machado. On the next pitch, Machado took a strong swing and launched the bat down the third baseline towards then third baseman Alberto Callaspo. Machado was ejected from the game following a second bench clearing in three games.
While the MLB did the right thing in suspending Machado, I wonder if the five game suspension is enough. The tag by Donaldson on Friday was the right play and did not seem like a ‘hard’ tag. Also, seeing as his home run should have been all the retaliation he needs, having Chen throw at Donaldson later in the game seems very inappropriate from the entire Orioles’ team. Having two backswings hit a player in the head and then smiling about it and then throwing your bat because of a pitch that did not even seem to be intentionally thrown at him is very suspect and makes me believe that Machado is a very immature young man who can not control his emotions and/or ego. After the suspension, Machado issued an apology and said, “seeing the replay over and over again, I definitely want to apologize.” Yet after saying this, he appealed the suspension, which makes one believe that his apology is insincere. Why appeal something that is undoubtedly on purpose and where the appeal may just earn him a longer suspension?
Of everything that Machado did during that series, the one thing that really irks me is the fact that he put other player’s health and safety at risk by being immature and emotional. What he did on the field Sunday was, for me, worse than a player using PED’s. Not that I condone PEDs, but the motivation behind taking drugs are positive in that a player wants to make himself a better player. The motivations behind Machado’s actions are malicious and completely unacceptable and inexcusable in the game of baseball (or any sport for that matter). What would have happened had he injured Norris badly with his backswings, or if the bat had struck Callaspo and injured him? The suspension would likely be worse. The first offense for a player who uses PEDs is 50 games, yet for a player who goes out of his way to attempt to injure another player, they only get five games? This seems too low.
I strongly believe that what Machado did was wrong and that he should be suspended longer than five games and the Orioles should seriously consider sending the young third baseman to the minors until he can get his head right. This type of situation should never happen and the league needs to make a statement to all players who believe they can do whatever they want, especially if that endangers other athletes in the MLB.