Thursday Thoughts: Stupid Baseball Gets Stupider

Kevin Gausman and Caleb Joseph argue with an umpire.

This is a weekly column that dives into some random thoughts about the Orioles/MLB. I used to do eight as a nod to Cal Ripken Jr. This year, I’ll be cutting it down to four or five, so consider it the Earl WeaverBrooks Robinson era of Thursday Thoughts. – A.S.

1. What else can really be said about the Orioles that hasn’t been said after this tumultuous week? I’m not going to take up much of your time this week because, let’s be honest, we’ve all had enough of this crap.

I don’t need to spell out for you everything that’s gone down in New York and Boston. It’s been mostly bad aside from a pair of wins. In a general sense, all of the controversy and misery surrounding the O’s has been captivating and exhausting all at once. It’s made me even more passionate about the team while also angering me to a point where I’m ready for an off day.

Unfortunately, there isn’t one of those until May 15.

2. Last night’s ump show in Boston should have consequences, but I’d be flabbergasted if that happened. Sam Holbrook should be suspended without pay for his role in the nonsense. Anyone with a brain (that’ll be a reoccurring theme here) could see that Kevin Gausman was not intentionally attempting to hit a batter. I have to echo Caleb Joseph’s sentiments in calling it “malarkey.”

The ejection of Adam Jones was also egregious as the captain was walking away from home plate when it happened. He wasn’t showing up Holbrook, he simply disagreed with the second strike. It should also be pointed out however, that Holbrook didn’t cost the Orioles the game. The team scored two runs and had ample opportunities to do more damage.

The offense remains in a bit of a funk here in the early part of the season, and that’s something that will need to be corrected.

3. I’ve written over the past ten days or so about baseball being dumb at times, specifically in reference to this ongoing disorder between the O’s and Red Sox. There’s no real update as baseball remains very dumb, it just needs to be pointed out.

I’m getting extremely tired of the “that’s the way it’s always been” argument when it comes to unwritten rules. Just because baseball players have always thrown at one other doesn’t mean that needs to continue. Change can be positive, and it can be achieved.

The problem is that too many people are comfortable with just letting things stay how they’ve always been. That hasn’t always been the case in our world. Women can vote, messages can be sent electronically rather than through the mail and believe it or not, baseball can improve by not allowing grown men to hurl baseballs at one another and risk lives.

Yes, this is a life or death conversation. That may seem like hyperbole to some, but is it really going to a fastball to someone’s face that alters their quality of life to make changes? That’s what baseball is looking at right now.

Change in these scenarios doesn’t come easy. The NFL didn’t start paying a lick of attention to player safety until it was sued. Baseball has an opportunity here to get out in front of a problem and change it for the better. Call me cynical, but I don’t see Rob Manfred doing much about it. He’s too worried about pace of play. But that doesn’t mean people should just stand by and let it happen.

Speaking up is the only thing that can be done at this point, and perhaps some players should start using their mouths rather than the weapons we call baseballs.

4. Adam Jones did that wacky bit where he made me beam with pride again this week. Having him represent my hometown has been a treat for the last decade. The way he dealt with racial remarks being thrown his way in Fenway Park was surgical. He met with the media Tuesday and showed so many emotions in dealing with a tough subject. You could tell Jones was angry, disgusted even by what he experienced. But he was also level-headed in recognizing that he’s not the only person who goes through it.

He sees the bigger picture, that this country still faces many issues when it comes to racial equality. He used his platform to be irritated but also to educate and inform. I took a different look than most at the ovation Jones received Tuesday. It was a nice gesture from the Boston faithful, but it was also very awkward to me. It felt uncomfortable and even a bit manufactured. I realize I’m in the minority on this, but I thought it was weird that the fan base decided to stand and applaud a player because he spoke out against racism.

Jones doesn’t want sympathy for what he has experienced, he wants change. Until that happens, fans can stand and cheer all they want, but it won’t make a bit of difference until people start showing respect for everyone of every color.

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