I’ve been checking out various reports on last night’s game, and one of them mentions how it was “marred” by a sixth-inning confrontation between Ty Wigginton and Andres Blanco.
Funny, but it made my night.
I had wandered to the far end of the press box to chat up Dave Johnson when the play occurred. I was watching a replay on one of the big screens when he tapped me on the shoulder to redirect my attention to the field, where players were coming out of the dugout and bullpen.
At that point, Wigginton was moving toward Blanco and Rangers third base coach Dave Anderson was trying to separate them. Good luck with that.
Wigginton has injected two of the biggest jolts into Camden Yards fans that didn’t involve a walk-off hit. He went ballistic over a call at first base, and he offered to assist Blanco back to the Rangers’ dugout, probably in multiple pieces.
I like this guy.
The Orioles have lacked an attitude, which is understandable. It’s hard to walk with a swagger during 13 straight losing seasons. But Wigginton brings a certain fire to this team.
He comes off as pretty low-key in the clubhouse, often slumped in his chair with a grin on his face, looking more like the dude you invite to your house on Sundays to watch football and spill beer on your rug. But make no mistake, he’s got a temper. He’s got attitude.
He’s also got a starting job with the Orioles in 2010, but he’ll be a free agent after the season and he’ll still want a starting job somewhere. The Orioles will search for a big bat over the winter - good luck with that, too - and could look for an upgrade at first base. They also are hoping that Josh Bell takes the third base job. That’s the plan, anyway.
So where does this leave Wigginton?
I’ve said all along that I’d love for him to return in his intended role, if nothing else - a backup corner infielder, part-time DH and right-handed bat off the bench. But he’s looking for more, and the Orioles will have to decide whether to give it to him.
Interesting that we’re having this debate when it appeared that he would struggle to find at-bats this season after the Orioles signed Miguel Tejada and Garrett Atkins. He seemed to be a prime trade candidate back in spring training. Now he’s one of the most valuable players on this team.
You’ll recall from one of last night’s blog entries that Wigginton didn’t want to go into detail over his dust-up with Blanco. Same with the guy on the other side of it.
“It’s just part of the game, trying to get the extra base,” Blanco told Rangers reporters afterward. “You got somebody who blocks the base and you get out. It just happens. That’s the first time I get into something with somebody from the other team.”
Both players are smart enough to let the incident die. We have three games remaining in this series. Nobody wants to take a heater in the ribs, or worse.
Wigginton was smart to kneel down and block the bag as Blanco dived in head-first. Johnson called it “a perfectly legal play” as we watched it unfold, and he was right.
If Blanco is smart, he’ll go in spikes-first next time. And he won’t challenge Wigginton.