At a certain point, one wonders if Buck Showalter believes his own drivel. He’s very entertaining, but not exactly convincing.
Assuming that Commissioner Rob Manfred’s words were heeded in a conference call Wednesday with both clubs, the Red Sox-Orioles plunking war should now be over.
Showalter on Wednesday, then, was armed with only his tongue. It may still be sharp, but doesn’t cut as deep as it probably once did.
The O’s skipper said he was going to pull Manny Machado — his best player — in the first inning Tuesday, because he feared the umpires would not protect Machado. Because Showalter did not know what was in the Red Sox’ hearts. And because if Machado wound up suspended if something else happened, the Red Sox would win.
“I took Manny down the runway there after the first inning ‘cause I was leaning toward taking him out of the game ‘cause it was obvious, didn’t seem like he was going to be protected by the umpires in that situation and didn’t trust them not to do it again, so I had a good long talk with him,” Showalter said. “Because you know if he gets thrown out of the game, or does something that gets suspended then they win. I just didn’t want that to happen.”
What protection, exactly, did Showalter want to see after Chris Sale threw behind Machado?
Home-plate umpire D.J. Reyburn issued a warning to each team. Any further action would have resulted in an ejection and suspension. Probably a big suspension, too.
If Sale’s ejected, what does that do? Did Showalter believe that Sale, the Sox’ best pitcher, would come back for more after the warning — the ejection and suspension be damned?
That’d be incredibly stupid of Sale. But fine, let’s say Showalter thought that.
How far does the conspiracy run?
Is Sale the only Sox pitcher who would take another shot once the warning was issued? What about the reliever that replaced Sale?
Might as well pull the whole team off the field. Or is Machado the only player the bloodthirsty Red Sox would target?
Showalter should always have his players’ safety paramount. Surely, he does. But this is just silly.
It’s one thing to calm down Machado, who, clearly, has a temper. But if you’re pulling a player out of a game because he can’t control himself, that would be an issue that runs beyond the Sox.
Machado has actually shown a lot of restraint and discipline, his postgame interview Tuesday aside.
If Showalter wants retaliatory pitches banned, he should say that. That’s not what he’s saying.
Nevermind that a livid Machado talked Tuesday about how he could take a bat to the mound. Showalter didn’t spend any time condemning that tirade, and why would he? Machado’s his star.
But it’s hard to take Showalter seriously about safety when he’s talking about pulling one of the best players in baseball once warnings have been issued — and doesn't have any problem with Machado mentioning he could use his bat to "crush" someone.
“I didn’t trust what was going on on the field by the other people,” Showalter said. “I can’t see or read their heart.”
No, Buck, you can’t. But everyone can see through this tack.