For Orioles fans, it’s a sigh of relief. No more green monster, no more “Let’s go Yankees,” no more pinstripes or New England accents and no more Red Sox and Yankees bias until mid-July. Thank goodness for that.
The Orioles dropped three straight games to Boston and New York by a combined 25-9. They lost the games on the field, but the bias presented by the umpires certainly doesn’t make the situation any better. It seems that everyone is afraid to call out the Evil Empire and the…what do we even call Boston…the Want-To-Be-Evil Empire, because as we all know, Boston fans so desperately wish to be just like New York fans.
The Boston/New York bias has gotten out of control. On Monday, the Orioles faced Daisuke Matsuzaka in a four hour 9 inning game. No rain delays, no benches clearing brawls, not a ton of pitching changes, but a game that lasted four hours. Why, you ask? Because Matsuzaka throws a pitch about every minute and half. Dice-K throws one across the plate, then wonders back to the mound, signs a few autographs, takes some photos with fans, calls him family, shakes off Varitek a few times and then throws another pitch. Four hours for a nine inning game is ridiculous, but you won’t see it change because that would require the umpires to tell Boston that they’re doing something wrong. You’d never see that, especially in front of their home crowd.
Against New York, it’s a similar situation. In the bottom of the 9th inning on Wednesday, Marino Rivera was called upon to close a 1-0 game at Camden Yards. Now I know Mo is about 50 years old, but he took his sweet old time getting from the bullpen to the mound. It got so bad that Orioles manager Buck Showalter voiced his complaints with the umpires, reportedly asking them to cut back Rivera’s warm up pitches. As predicted, they did no such thing.
Alex Rodriguez struck out looking in the top of 13th inning and turned around to scream at rookie home plate umpire Dan Bellino. Too afraid to throw A-Fraud out of the game, Bellino let him walk back to the dugout. Rodriguez was later shown complaining about the call to the third base umpire, Tony Randazzo when he returned to the field in the bottom half of the inning.
Following Orioles reliever Mike Gonzalez plunking Chris Dickerson in the head and being ejected, the teams were warned that retaliation would not be accepted in the finale on Thursday. Essentially that meant that the Yankees could retaliate, but that the Orioles could not.
Two batters into the Orioles lineup and their star right fielder is drilled in the back by CC Sabathia in the bottom of the 1st. Markakis told the media that he thought it was intentional, “Sometimes your pitchers protect your hitters and stuff like that happens,” he said.
No ejection for CC and none for Amauri Sanit who hit Brandon Snyder in the 9th. The Yankees would have to hit the Orioles lineup twice through in a row to see an ejection from an average umpiring crew.
Again, the Orioles lost these games to their opponents, but the bias is showing and it’s more clear now than I’ve seen it in a long time. If you warn teams, warn them both. Don’t accept closers strolling out of the bullpen or starters taking far too long on the mound, even if they’re from Boston or New York. Calls the games and call them far and please, don’t be so afraid of these two teams.