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Minnesota Twins lose their minds after Orioles hitter does his job

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Minnesota Twins lose their minds after Orioles hitter does his job

The Orioles looked terrible in the first series of the 2018 season, yet it's the Twins who should be embarrassed with themselves. 

Minnesota dominated the O's all series, winning two out of three games, with the only loss coming in extra innings.

They still somehow managed to leave Baltimore angry after rookie Orioles catcher Chance Sisco laid down a perfect bunt to beat the shift in the 9th-inning of Jose Berrios' one-hitter on Sunday afternoon. 

It's important to clarify that it was already a one-hitter entering the 9th inning. Fittingly, it was Chance Sisco who picked up the Orioles first and only hit up until that point, an opposite-field double.

If Berrios had been working on a no-hitter or a perfect game, then the unwritten rules of not laying down a bunt in the 9th inning are a lot more clear.

As a quick aside, the unwritten rules are still garbage even during a no-hitter, as it's not the responsibility of the Orioles to care whether or not an opposing pitcher is going for history. Their only priority is to try to win the game. But still, there is an established history of players "respecting the game" in moments like that.

As I said, this was not one of those moments. History was not on the line, yet the Twins were shocked that an opposing hitter would try to get on base. I mean, the nerve of that guy, right? Doing his job like that? Unconscionable.

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If one Twin had made an offhand comment, it likely would have gone unnoticed. Instead the entire locker room chimed in to admonish Sisco, and one Twins media member suggested Sisco should look out for a "fastball to the earhole" when the two teams meet again.

Given a chance to rethink his comments, Twins second basemen Brian Dozier doubled down the following day, saying that people were missing the fact that the Twins didn't steal up 7 in the top of the 9th.

Thankfully, it appears the Twins themselves are the only ones who think this should be an issue. Dozier, Berrios, and Eddie Rosario all commented on Sisco's bunt, yet the overwhelming majority of responses from other fanbases and media members has been in support of Sisco's bunt.

Frankly, it doesn't matter what position the defense was in, as Sisco's sole job as a major league hitter is to get on base. That said, it's been pointed out plenty of times that the Twins were in an extreme defensive shift, leaving third base wide open. They thought the game was competitive enough that they strategicially attempted to gain an advantage by breaking from traditional defensive alignment, yet they have a problem with the opposing hitter thinking the game was competitive enough that he strategically attempted to gain an advantage by bunting? Miss me with that.

Even ignoring game situation, there are plenty of good reasons for Sisco to lay down a bunt. As a young player trying to prove himself in the big leagues, anything he can do to get on base is good for his career. Plus, he is likely going to continue facing the shift on a regular basis, so practicing getting down a bunt during a game is valuable.

It even makes sense considering the Twins specifically. Maybe next time the two teams play each other, the Twins won't shade so far off the bag, remembering that Sisco has the ability to drop down a perfect bunt. And maybe the extra space that provides is enough for him to squeak a hit through in a more meaningful at-bat. 

The point is, all unwritten rules are pretty dumb. And if we're going to start playing that card in situations that make no logical sense? Baseball is going to continue to lose young fans.

Jose Berrios said "I know it's just not good for baseball in that situation," and he's absolutely right. Complaining about a young hitter trying to get on base, which again is, you know, his job, is definitely not good for baseball.

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Orioles finally hire Brandon Hyde as new manager

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Orioles finally hire Brandon Hyde as new manager

The Orioles have finally found their man.

After entering the Winter Meetings without having yet hired their new manager, a rarity in this era of baseball, the Orioles announced Friday that they had hired Brandon Hyde to fill the role.

Hyde joins the organization after spending half a decade in Chicago under Joe Maddon, and many years prior with the Marlins. He has a long background in player development, something that was important to new Orioles GM Mike Elias, which makes sense considering the state of the organization and their upcoming rebuilding process.

Hyde is 45, so he’ll have the opportunity to stick in Baltimore for a long time if he finds success, however, Elias defines it, in the next few seasons. Many times, the manager leading a team as it embarks on an organizational rebuild is not the same one who leads them back into contention, but the Orioles front office will certainly hope Hyde is up to both tasks.
 
“After conducting an intensive search, I believe that we have found the ideal leader for the next era of Orioles baseball,” said Mike Elias, Orioles Executive Vice President and General Manager, in a statement released Friday.

“Brandon’s deep background in player development and Major League coaching, most recently helping to shape the Cubs into a World Champion, has thoroughly prepared him for this job and distinguished him throughout our interview process. I look forward to introducing him to our fans next week and to working together with him to build the next great Orioles team.”

Elias was thought to have preferred someone with Major League experience, so as to avoid saddling an up-and-coming manager with multiple 90-plus loss seasons inevitably on the horizon in Baltimore. Hyde technically has experience coaching in the big leagues, though it comes in the form of a single game. The Marlins lost his one game as acting manager 2-1 to the Rays, and Jack McKeon was named interim manager the next day.

Maddon has developed a reputation as a stellar communicator and somebody open to analytics, and it stands to reason that Hyde would follow a similar style of leadership, especially considering how critical those traits are in the eyes of Elias.

Hyde replaces Buck Showalter, a beloved figure in Baltimore after his 8 ½ seasons at the helm brought winning baseball back to a city desperate for relevancy. Showalter’s contract was not renewed at the end of this past season, an understandable decision given his age and how long it will be until the franchise is ready to compete again.

Reports swirled about Hyde being named the 20th manager in franchise history as early as Tuesday at the Winter Meetings, though Elias and the front office were quick to emphasize that nothing was official at the time. In the end, Hyde does end up accepting the job, and he’ll be introduced at a press conference Monday.

Nationals bench coach Chip Hale was, along with Hyde, one of six finalists who interviewed for the position, so the Nats won’t be losing a valuable piece of their staff.

The Orioles are in the honeymoon phase of the rebuild, where hope springs eternal and the losses to come haven’t set in yet. Hyde checks all the boxes for what Elias was looking for, and despite his relative inexperience, he’s someone who should excite, if not necessarily inspire, the fanbase in Charm City.

Orioles fans won’t have many exciting acquisitions to cheer on in the near future, but they may have just made one of their most impactful. The O’s finally have their GM-Manager combination set for the foreseeable future, and they’ll hope to experience as much success and more as the previous regime.

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Orioles GM Elias calls reports of Brandon Hyde being next manager "premature"

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Orioles GM Elias calls reports of Brandon Hyde being next manager "premature"

Orioles new general manager Mike Elias is a busy man out in Las Vegas. Not only is he looking to add much needed talent to Baltimore's roster but he is also searching for a new manager. Elias interviewed six candidates, including Nationals bench coach Chip Hale, for the vacancy. On Monday, Elias said they were “pretty far along in the process.”

Then the reports surfaced on Tuesday that the Orioles had found their man. 

For a second straight year, Joe Maddon's bench coach has landed a managerial job (Davey Martinez). 

But, in the words of College Gameday's Lee Corso "Not so fast my friend!"

Does that mean Hyde is not the manager? Not necessarily. It likely means Elias wants the news to come out on his terms.