With less than half a season in the books, Johnny Oates has matched his career high for ejections in a single season. And already he has twice as many this year as last.
But don't jump to any rash conclusions. Although some would like to believe as much, there isn't a trend developing. Oates was thrown out of only one game last year, half the total of his two previous seasons.
When the Orioles manager gets thrown out of a game it generally is news of man-bites-dog nature. His latest dismissal, however, was lost in Friday night's record barrage of home runs at Camden Yards, but not overlooked by the capacity audience.
There was a noticeable reaction when Oates raced from the dugout when it appeared Brady Anderson was on the verge of being thrown out of the game by plate umpire Terry Craft. It was easy to sense this was a side of Oates the fans would like to see more often -- probably because of the theatrical history of a majority of his predecessors.
Oates is as aware of the tradition as he is of his laid-back reputation. He also knows it's neither his nature nor his style to create artificial enthusiasm.
That is not to suggest Oates doesn't have a temper that can flare out of control. Anybody who has been close enough -- including umpires -- can attest to as much.
But if his ability to manage has to be demonstrated by manufactured animation, he'll take a pass. That's not his way, and it would be an artificial charade that everyone would immediately see through.
"What happened the other night [Friday] was so fast I don't know how it happened," he said. "All I was thinking about was the possibility of Brady maybe bumping the umpire and we lose him for three or four games."
In reality, though it didn't appear as such with the two face to face, the argument between Craft and Anderson was over by the time Oates arrived. He was upset that Craft followed Anderson toward the dugout and told the umpire as much.
When Oates extended the conversation to include the pitch in question, accompanied by hand gestures indicating how much it was out of the strike zone, he got his evictionnotice. It was not a scene that figures to be repeated very often, even though Oates is on a personal record-setting pass.
"I'm going to [continue] to treat those guys with dignity and respect," he said. "If it's a bang-bang play, I'm not going out there just to put on a show.
"When I know they missed a play, I'll be out there -- but I'm not going to do it just to show them up," said Oates.
The Orioles manager has had his share of testy moments, both this year and last. But he's not going to show his fiery side in an effort to prove he can manage.
What you see with Oates is what you get. There are no artificial additives.
-! And he's not going to change.