If you recall, two weeks ago, I penned a post titled The Kansas City Royals are impossible to hate. It made me, a Baltimore Orioles fan, a hero to the fine folks of Kansas City. I was praised effusively for my abilities to look impartially at a rival franchise.
Then, this happened.
For starters, let’s just appreciate the fact that Chris Davis was able to slam a baseball bat into the ground with enough force to snap it clean in two. Hulk smash!
Let’s also make it clear that this moment does not change the way I feel about the Royals. For the most part, I enjoy their brand of fiery, passionate baseball. Nights like this, however, do make them a little harder to defend.
Davis and the Orioles had every right to be angry, incensed even. The beanball delivered by Franklin Morales came on the heels of a Nolan Reimold grand slam, a Manny Machado home run, and an Adam Jones laser-beam single to left field. Frustrated, Morales let one fly into the middle of Davis’ back. No need to interpret intent on this one. It was crystal clear what led to the HBP: frustration.
This is nothing new to baseball. Give up a few hard hits, take a shot at an opposing batter. It happens, whether it’s right or not.
The message to take away from the incident was delivered by Baltimore’s Hall of Fame broadcaster Jim Palmer. “You’re going to get one of your own guys hurt,” Palmer said. That should worry you if you call the Royals your favorite team. In September, the last thing you need if you’re manager Ned Yost is to see one of your own suffer a broken wrist or bruised ribs because a hothead pitcher could not keep his emotions in check after getting knocked around.
This is not the first time in 2015 that the Royals pitching staff has dispensed “justice” in a situation where cooler heads should have prevailed. You could revisit Kelvin Herrera taking repeat shots at Brett Lawrie, a brawl with the Chicago White Sox over lord knows what, or the August blowup with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Morales throwing at Davis should be the final straw for Yost. He must rein in his pitching staff. When you are the one getting knocked around like a pinata you do not throw at an opposing batter, especially in the middle of a pennant race. The Royals cannot afford to see one of their players on the shelf with an injury because a member of the bullpen could not check their ego. It’s the manager’s job to make sure that does not happen, and it’s time for Ned Yost to step up.