Sunday's Orioles-Athletics game was ugly enough before Manny Machado put himself in the spotlight, when the Orioles’ star third baseman's bat ended up flying past the Oakland third baseman after two straight inside pitches. Machado and Oakland reliever Fernando Abad were both ejected, but most of the attention is on Machado — and it’s not positive attention.
Here’s what they’re saying in the national media about Manny Machado’s day on Sunday, and what the consequences should be:
** David Schoenfeld of ESPN.com believes Machado must be suspended, and for at least five games. He wrote:
"So with a 10-0 lead in the eighth inning, Abad threw a fastball near Machado's knees, a pitch that was easy to jump away from," Schoenfeld said. "On the next pitch, Machado let the bat fly. Can you defend Abad's pitch? We get into the complicated area of retribution here. It's easy to argue, 'Let it go. You're up 10-0. Finish off the game and go home.' On the other hand, Machado had been acting like a punk."
MLB.com’s Peter Gammons tweeted that link out, and said he agreed.
"The players watched replay after replay of Manny Machado flinging his bat after a couple of inside pitches, at the end of a weekend of dust-ups between Machado and the Oakland Athletics," Olney wrote.
"'Manny's got some things to learn,' said one player here in Detroit, shaking his head."
** On NBCSports’ Hardball Talk blog, Joe Stiglich covered the issue from the Oakland perspective.
"The A’s also were ticked about a sixth-inning incident Sunday, when Machado’s bat twice hit A’s catcher Derek Norris unintentionally during his backswing," Stiglich wrote. "Norris was struck in the head with one of them and was so shaken up he had to leave the game. In the whole time Norris was being attended to at home plate, Machado never glanced in Norris’ direction or made any effort to apologize or ask if Norris was OK.
"Norris told reporters he thinks he actually caught Machado smiling after one of the backswings, and labeled Machado’s behavior 'a disgrace to baseball. Things like that stain your career.' "
** Sports On Earth’s Jonathan Bernhardt, a former Orioles blogger, had similarly strong words for Machado.
Bernhardt wrote: “Third baseman Manny Machado’s conduct in Baltimore’s weekend series against the Oakland Athletics has been immature and inexcusable, and it needs immediate correction by both his team and MLB. Machado should be riding the bench until the league office determines what punishment to mete out for his actions in Sunday’s matinee. …
“Machado has been a model citizen up until this weekend. He appeared to be one of the best-adjusted and mature young players in baseball up until the bottom of the third on Friday. Hopefully, a lengthy suspension will make it clear to him just how unacceptable it is to endanger other players, coaches, officials and possibly fans, because of some perceived on-field slight.”
** And some quick but still hot takes on Twitter:
Yahoo! Sports columnist Jeff Passan: Just saw what Manny Machado did. Unconscionable. Dangerous. And very worthy of a substantive suspension. He's 21. Well past time to grow up.
Former MLB player and Fox Sports writer Gabe Kapler: Machado doesn't want to fight. He's had every opportunity to do so if he did. So why is he behaving like that's his intention? BC he's 21.