Wednesday on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Report on MASN, I was discussing the beef that exists between the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox with Dave Johnson and Mel Antonen.
We were discussing whether or not the “beef” was over. I did not think, in spite of a warning issued by Commissioner Rob Manfred, that we had seen the end of the riff. No, I was not insinuating that either side would intentionally throw at one another. I give both teams more credit than that.
My biggest fear happened in the bottom of the second inning Wednesday night. Kevin Gausman threw a 77 mph pitch that hit Xander Bogaerts on the hip. The pitch did not look as if Gausman intended to hit or send a message to Bogaerts unlike Chris Sale’s or even Dylan Bundy’s. This looked like a pitch that legitimately got away from Kevin Gausman.
That’s not how home plate umpire Sam Holbrook saw it. He immediately reacted by ejecting Gausman from the game. Joe Torre, MLB’s chief baseball officer, stated there would be no official warnings before the game so this was clearly at the discretion of Holbrook based on his perception, which was something I feared.
The storyline had already been written between these two teams. Nothing has to happen intentionally. These two teams apparently do not like one another and they don’t hide it. While I did not envision an umpire overreacting to something that happens in baseball, I envisioned it happening somehow and real soon.
The tension between the Orioles and Red Sox is real. That pitch hitting Bogaerts could have easily resulted in Bogaerts charging the mound. That could have been Drew Pomeranz losing a pitch and hitting Manny Machado. The point is it happens in baseball but it was not allowed to happen last night because of the history between these two teams which means it was not and STILL is not over. If anyone else gets plunked when these two teams square off, all of us will wonder if it was intentional. That’s the nature of this beast.