After holding his former team to one run over five innings in Game 3 at Kauffman Stadium, the Kansas City Royals right-hander came to the podium to speak to reporters wearing a shirt that said “These O’s ain’t Royal.”
Now, some people might be wondering what that even means. But it’s a play on a lyric from a Chris Brown pop hit. If you’re curious, Google the lyrics for the song, “Loyal.” And look up the explicit version, not the clean version. You’re on your own as far as that goes.
Well, Guthrie’s shirt caused a maelstrom of fury from Orioles fans, who called Guthrie such things as “classless” and “gutless.”
Guthrie was the Orioles’ best starting pitcher through some lean years in Baltimore before he was traded to the Colorado Rockies before the 2012 season in exchange for right-handers Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom.
When Guthrie left, there was still a segment of the Orioles fan base that held him close, revering him as gutsy pitcher who recorded three straight 200-inning seasons and deserved more than the 47-65 record he compiled in five seasons in Baltimore.
Guthrie certainly didn’t win any Orioles fans with his selection of postgame dress on Tuesday.
But the 35-year-old Guthrie used Twitter early Wednesday morning to apologize for offending any Orioles fan.
“My intention was not to anger O’s fans or friends with my shirt [tonight],” Guthrie tweeted. “I apologize to those I offended. Did not consider this reaction. Go Royals.
“My positive feelings for the Charm City, O’s organization, my former teammates and O’s fans is well documented,” Guthrie said in a separate tweet. “Nothing I wore [tonight] changes that.”
Maybe Guthrie truly intended no harm by wearing the shirt. Sometimes athletes are given apparel to wear in public to give it publicity.
But those shirts are usually relegated to the clubhouse or pregame activities, not worn in front of a swarm of national media and cameras that are broadcasting a news conference live.
What’s confusing is that the Stanford-educated Guthrie wouldn’t have a better feel for the situation. The Orioles are down 3-0 in the American League Championship Series. They’re already angry in the clubhouse because of the deficit they face.
And Orioles players have bit their tongue in regards to Royals reserve outfielder Jarrod Dyson. They've taken the high road when asked about his comments predicting the Orioles would simply fold if they went down 3-0.
In fact, Dyson kept talking after Game 3, telling Yahoo Sports that third baseman Ryan Flaherty jabbed his knee into his shoulder on a pickoff attempt at third base. “He can get mad,” Dyson told Yahoo. “I’ll let our sticks do the talking.”
Again, Guthrie might have truly meant no harm. You can’t blame him for naiveté. You can blame him for bad timing.
Even though the Orioles are on the brink of elimination, both Guthrie and Dyson ought to hope the O’s don’t have two wins in them this series. I’m sure Camden Yards would greet them warmly.