Manny Machado is one of the most exciting young players in baseball, but several members of the Oakland Athletics believe he still has a lot of growing up to do.
The A’s and Machado’s Baltimore Orioles squared off in a highly eventful series over the weekend, during which the benches cleared not once but twice. The 21-year-old third baseman was the catalyst for both incidents, getting in Oakland infielder Josh Donaldson’s face to start the first and throwing his bat toward third base (or having it slip out of his hands, depending on who’s telling the story) to prompt the second.
The A’s were steaming after Sunday’s series finale despite ending the three-game set with an 11-1 win. Oakland catcher Derek Norris — who had twice been hit in the head with Machado backswings, forcing him to leave the game — was particularly candid in his comments to reporters after the game.
“What he’s doing, it’s a disgrace to baseball, and I think it’s sad to see someone of his talent and national recognition have things like that stain your career,” Norris said, via MLB.com. “I think it’s sad that a player needs to take things to a certain level. I don’t really understand it. Somewhere inside of him, he’s gotta know that he was in the wrong at some point. If you can’t leave here today thinking that you didn’t do anything wrong, something needs to happen, whether it happens internally over there or whatever.”
Norris said Machado did not check to see if the catcher was OK after nailing him with his bat — a common courtesy in baseball — and that he might have even “caught him smiling one time.”
Machado, who was ejected in the eighth inning of Sunday’s loss, went hitless in his final seven at-bats of the series.