|Faux pas to deep left!|
The Orioles had runners on second and third and no outs in the eighth inning today when Fox came to the plate against Tigers minor leaguer Chance Ruffin. The most important aspect of this story is the score was 13-3 at the time, and both teams had subbed out most of their regulars. Ruffin started the at-bat with three straight balls, but Fox decided to take a rip at a 3-0 pitch in a clear take situation.
It certainly qualified as a breach of baseball etiquette. Swinging 3-0 in a 10-run game with no outs in the eighth inning with a minor league pitcher on the mound is a decent way to make sure you get a fastball in the ribs in your next at-bat. The average fan may not think it was a big deal but Orioles manager Buck Showalter and Tigers manager Jim Leyland certainly did.
I'll never fully understand this but...what exactly is the big deal here? If Buck Showalter had the take sign on or had VERY SPECIFICALLY told Fox to start taking on 3-0 this spring, that's fine. Ignoring your manger is worthy of his scorn.
But this doesn't appear to be the case. Both managers were angry and it seemed to be a simple breach of "baseball etiquette".
But would it have been OK if he swung away at 2-0? 3-1? Swung at the first pitch? Which is it, really? And what would be the difference? And isn't this a spring game? What's the big deal?
"Oh man, you never played the game. You wouldn't understand." Well, I've watched plenty. And when I was watching this 30-3 gem the Rangers put on us....NOBODY STOPPED SWINGING! They scored 16 of those 30 runs in the 8th and 9th innings! They swung away like Merrill!
What did Tigers manager Jim Leyland think about the situation?
“Look, once and for all, it’s not going to affect the team at all. All these people are going to get dramatic about this (expletive), it’s not going to affect this team one bit. Trust me. That’s all reading material. Everybody gets all upset, gets real dramatic ..."
Oh wait...he wasn't talking about Jake Fox swinging at a 3-0 pitch. He was talking about his starting first baseman getting arrested for driving while fall-down drunk! So excuse me if I don't trust HIS sense of perspective! Perhaps Fox could have been forgiven for swinging at a 3-0 pitch....IF HE WAS REALLY, REALLY DRUNK!
(pant, pant, pant)
I mean, really. Screw that noise.