The Baltimore Orioles won perhaps the biggest game of the season to date yesterday in Toronto. It had everything – high drama, disagreements, etc. And by disagreements, I mean controversy.
Toronto starter Alex Manoah barked at the Orioles’ Adam Frazier following a strikeout S he walked back to the dugout. There was seemingly no basis for the rift, and it left a lot of people wondering what happened. I would say this: don’t even ask the question.
The situation from earlier last week with Toronto and the NY Yankees is well documented. And there are plenty of other cases of Toronto players getting in the faces of opponents. Remember the 2015 postseason – Jose Bautista with the bat flip? They’ve had their share of run-in’s with the Orioles over the years also. If you remember, Toronto seemed intent on throwing at Oriole hitters on the night the Birds were trying to clinch the 2014 AL East title. Determined to insert themselves into the story.
That’s no different than Manoah and Frazier yesterday. Or the entire Toronto team against Aaron Judge last week. For years, that team has basically tried to play the heel. They want you to hate them. And they don’t mind fighting if it comes to that. They’re aggressive, and that’s purposely done.
So this is a word of caution to the Orioles, if anything. You know how the saying goes; never get into a fight with a pig, because he’ll beat you with experience and you’ll get dirty. Make no mistake, these are concerted efforts by the Toronto Blue Jays to get under people’s skin.
At a certain point, you have to defend yourself. However Toronto’s always been a team that tries to get under people’s skin. Chirping on the field and in the media about New York stealing signs is a perfect example. But how many bench-clearing brawls are they involved in?! And if they are, is it not convenient that it comes across as they’re the ones defending themselves?
Jose Bautista flips his bat at the Texas Rangers in the post season. The next year he gets slugged in the face. Believe me, both Bautista and his superiors were THRILLED with that result. The other guy gets the perception of causing the problem, and they got under their skin. That’s their modus operandi.
Make no mistake, Manoah was planting a seed yesterday. Their goal is to chirp and scream so much that eventually someone has to do something. And then they get to go into victim mode.
So the O’s should beware of this. Don’t be shocked if someone tries something or says something in today’s game. Toronto’s the schoolyard bully who levies insults at you and when you retaliate, says you threw the first punch. And the sad thing is they’re good at it. THEY caused the bad blood with the Yankees earlier this week. THEY caused the situation with Adam Frazier yesterday. Their hope is that it boils over, potentially causing suspensions to the other guy.
So the Orioles need to remain focused. Unless Toronto does something outlandish, don’t take the bait. Because it’s all part of a plan on their part.