Rob Long: What It Means
On Monday the Baltimore Orioles were in an American League East battle with the New York Yankees. After a dismal start the Birds trailed 3-1 in the bottom of the third inning when Jonathan Schoop led off the inning with a single to left field. Nick Markakis followed that single with a strike out on a pitch that looked like it was coming right at the right fielder.
Then, a game that had a weird feel to it already, took a turn for the worst. Manny Machado hit a low ground ball to Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter that appeared to be an infield single at first glance. Jeter double clutched as he looked to first base and initially you thought it was because there was no play.
I was sitting behind the home plate so naturally, I was following the baseball. As I looked toward first base, I did not see Machado. I looked back at Jeter as he lobbed a throw to first base and still, I’m looking for Manny Machado. I looked back at home plate and I saw Manny on the ground grabbing his knee with both hands.
At the time, I’m sure most O’s fans were numb and the stadium came to a hush. Immediately after that, Adam Jones gets a single left, scoring Schoop and narrowing the lead, making it 3-2 Yankees. Instantly, you were reminded that this club was a team and your concern was more for Machado than for what it meant to the Baltimore Orioles 2014 season.
Most fans, like me, feared the worst case scenario. I’m sure we’re all better off with me NOT writing what that is but we all know. Later, the Orioles posted Manny suffered a sprain on the scoreboard and even that made fans skeptical. There were fans sitting around me who refuse to trust anything until the young infielder got an MRI. Put me in that number.
Adversity is something all teams, even championship teams face, but you would think Manny Machado is one of the last players could afford to lose. He’s been on fire lately and has always been a force defensively. However, one has to wonder what Monday night’s injury represents. We saw Manny go down in a heap last season in Tampa with an injury to his left that required surgery.
Now, with an injury to his right knee and not knowing the severity of it, concern turns toward Manny long term, even beyond 2014. This kid is a tremendous talent and a player O’s fans want to call Camden Yards home for years to come. However, Manny has given fans a huge scare with injuries two years in a row. We can only hope this injury is more minor than major.