Just a heads up before I get going here: I am a Toronto Blue Jays fan so the following may be come off a bit biased.
If you watched the Jays’ game against Baltimore on Sunday, you saw Orioles’ pitchers bean Jays’ slugger Jose Bautista twice in two successive at-bats. Rick VandenHurk hit him in the third inning “unintentionally” and then Alfredo Simon threw at him twice more in the fifth, directly after being summoned from the bullpen. He missed the first time, and then plunked Bautista on the forearm with his second pitch.
After throwing at Bautista the second time, Simon was directly tossed from the game, and was later suspended three games, while O’s manager Buck Showalter was also suspended for one contest.
Although there is no proof, it’s pretty clear that Showalter summoned Simon into the game with the intention of having him throw at Bautista, and for that he should have been fined as well.
Now I know that Blue Jays’ hurler Shaun Marcum retaliated by throwing at Baltimore’s Luke Scott, in the fourth, but he was just sending a message, saying, “If you hit our guy, we’re going to hit you right back.” Marcum, for his part was fined a laughable $750, which he plans to appeal.
I understand that teams sometimes use the “bean-ball” for tactical reasons, and that it is part of the game, but throwing at Bautista, of all people, makes absolutely no sense.
The only possible reason I can think of, is he and the Orioles were upset that the Blue Jays took 15 of 18 games from them this season, and they thought who better than to target than Toronto’s best player?
Needless to say, the Blue Jays were not happy after the game, with Marcum saying things like “I thought it was horse$#!@” and “I guess that’s how they do things over there.”
It will be interesting when these two teams meet again next season because the Jays were hinting that they will remember the O’s actions and they plan on sending a message the next time they play.