A day after his star shortstop Manny Machado was hit by a pitch and fought Kansas City Royals starter Yordano Ventura, Orioles manager Buck Showalter fell back on the idea that his player’s actions were justified.
“It’s a lot easier to do those things when you feel like you’re doing it for a just cause,” Showalter said. “I have been in some of those where it wasn’t, and it wasn’t a good feeling. It’s something we’ve been real careful about here, and talk a lot of about. Make sure it’s for a just cause. I can imagine … I’ve been in some of those where you’re involved in things like that, and you know how it got to that point, and it’s wrong, and you shouldn’t have been out there, and that’s where things get policed from within with our club.
“We always talk about the ramifications of your action, and the things you say. I’ve already told our players, think about what reflection and the consequences it has on your teammates, your organization and your fans. Stop and think sometimes, there’s a lot of things that branch off it.”
“No, he’s not getting that reputation,” Showalter said. “So if you’re basing on one person that really doesn’t know, I’d have to read it and think about it. Which really wouldn’t be on my list of things I really need to do today if you consider the sources.”
He wouldn’t get too much into how much Machado has changed since that 2014 incident, or whether he’s seen growth.
“There’s a lot of things,” Showalter said. “We’re all different than we were yesterday in some ways. Where would you start? Stronger, more confident. You talking about as a player? Person? Nobody’s that smart. You don’t sit around here and critique human beings. You can do it. You all can do it. I certainly have personal thoughts about everybody, and things I’ve been exposed to obviously a lot more than anybody in this room.
"But everybody learns from good things, bad things. And Manny is a lot better at some things than he might not have been two or three years ago. He’s had a lot of good things come his way. We’ll see how he handles them as he continues in his baseball career. So far, so good.”
Considering how Royals manager Ned Yost believes Ventura’s reputation has painted how the last 24 hours have played out, perhaps Showalter’s thoughts are good for the Orioles.
Yost told reporters before the game there was “no emotions involved with it.”
"The second at-bat, his plan was to try to pitch Manny inside and then breaking balls away,” Yost said. “He threw two pitches inside, and Manny didn't like it. He was screaming and yelling, 'Don't pitch me inside.' Well, if you're a pitcher, of course, you're going to pitch inside. And the one that got away.
“But even when Manny was yelling and screaming, Ventura didn't look at him. Ventura didn't do anything. He handled it well. Tried to start him off with a fastball inside, just got too far inside. He's got a reputation that's always going to haunt him here, and anytime something like that happens, he's going to be guilty right off the bat without looking at the entire situation."