KANSAS CITY — Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said the confrontation between reliever Richard Bleier and third base coach José David Flóres during Wednesday’s loss to the Washington Nationals was addressed and moved past in the ensuing two days. However, Hyde but lamented the message such incidents broadcast about the team.
This was the second such altercation this month after Hyde and first baseman Chris Davis had a dugout altercation three weeks ago. But Hyde said the focus on such incidents detract from the work the Orioles’ players and coaches have done in this losing season to build a positive environment.
“That for me, is probably the most disappointing of any of that because the public and the fans don’t get to see what our clubhouse is, and the environment that has been created here, and the culture that we really feel good about,” Hyde said. “There’s a lot of good things going on organizationally and in the big leagues that doesn’t get to be seen, so I think that we have a lot to be proud of, how far we’ve come this year. I feel really, really good about [it].”
Even allowing all that, August has been a month to forget for the Orioles, even as it’s full of memorable moments that qualify as such for the wrong reasons.
The major league home run record fell at the hands of the Orioles’ pitching staff, as did several home run records at the hands of Gleyber Torres and the New York Yankees.
Jonathan Villar hit for the cycle. Rio Ruiz hit a walk-off home run. The Orioles won three games in a row for just the third time this year.
But Davis’ altercation with Hyde three weeks ago, and the fact that Bleier’s dust-up with Flóres took on a similar life, creates a perception that there are already cracks in the foundation of this bottom-up rebuild.
Bleier took issue with the Orioles’ infield alignment during a three-run fifth inning that inflated his ERA to 6.30. He and Flóres needed to be separated by Orioles players, most notably injured reliever Shawn Armstrong.
Hyde said after the incident with Davis that such things can happen in a frustrating season such as the Orioles have had, but played a different set of notes on this incident.
“We’ve been out of it for quite a while now, and our team continues to play hard,” Hyde said. “We continue to have a great dugout, even though the other night there was an instance that didn’t turn out well. But it’s a great dugout almost on a nightly basis. The environment in the clubhouse is fantastic. We celebrate wins. We play to win every night, nobody has cashed it in and we’re playing our butts off. That’s a really good feeling. I think we’ve set a really good tone for the atmosphere we want going forward.”
Martin makes memorable museum visit
Orioles rookie shortstop Richie Martin, whose grandfather Walter Thomas played in the Negro Leagues for four seasons from 1937-1945, was part of a group of Orioles who visited the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City on Friday afternoon.
Bob Kendrick, the president of the museum, gave the players a tour and pointed out several pictures of Thomas, who played his last two seasons with the Kansas City Monarchs alongside greats such as Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige.
At the end of the tour, which also included Mychal Givens, Dillon Tate, and Richard Bleier, Thomas gave Martin a Monarchs jersey of the vintage that his grandfather would have worn.
“It’s just really special,” Martin said.
Visiting the museum taught Martin not only about the conditions that his grandfather’s generation had to endure, but about his responsibility to spread the messages from that time in the current generation.
“I was thinking of it, the conditions in terms of what a lot of these guys went through,” Martin said. “It’s sad but it’s very uplifting for me to realize that you need to be very proud of what they’ve done and take advantage of our opportunities. It’s my job to just continue to carry that legacy. … I think a lot of times guys take for granted what we have now. They went through a lot of hard times, and it wasn’t easy. It’s our job to carry that legacy on and continue to embrace that history, never let something like that happen again.”
Around the horn
Left-hander John Means was activated off the family medical emergency list Friday to start the series opener in his native Kansas City. He took the roster spot of right-hander Tayler Scott, who was optioned to Norfolk on Thursday. … Armstrong is scheduled to be activated from the injured list when rosters expand Sunday.