When it comes to Orioles vs. Yankees, emotions run high. But no matter how upset some Orioles fans are over Nick Markakis getting hit Saturday night by CC Sabathia, you are not going to convince me that Sabathia did that on purpose.
Believe me if I thought that, I'd be among the first to express anger about it. Some fans are still expressing the opinion today that the Orioles should have retaliated yesterday. For what? There was no reason to throw at any Yankees in Sunday's game (although A-Rod did get hit, but not on purpose).
Some fans' passion over retaliation is misplaced. No one in the O's clubhouse believes there was a hint of intent on Sabathia's part, at least no one I asked and I asked a few players about it. I was pretty sure they would say that and they did.
Here is what Chris Davis told me Sunday morning:
"You know what? In a game like that, when it is that close, if you are throwing at guys, then your intent is obviously not to win the game," Davis said. "It is hard for me to believe that CC would intentionally throw at Nick, especially when he had him 0-2. I don't think he is that kind of player.
"To be honest with you, we are not looking to pick a fight. If they bring one to our front doorstep, we are not going to back down. But we are not trying to pick fights out here. We are trying to win a division. I know there is a lot frustration over there. Just take it as it is and keep playing."
I think that was a great answer to the question. The Orioles won't back down to the Yankees but they also won't retaliate for something that never happened.
To me the emotion over Markakis is one of sadness and disappointment, not anger. Sabathia was trying to pitch inside when ahead in the count. He missed his location and we had a rare instance where a ball hit a batter and the batter got hurt. Saturday night there was disappointment in that clubhouse. Disappointment that a respected veteran may now miss the playoffs if the club can get there.
What is the best way to tick off the Yankees and their fans? Beat them out for the division. That would hurt the most. Stand up to the Yankees? This team has done that many times over this year. Get behind 5-0 at New York, score seven runs the next time up. Get tied by New York with a five-run rally, bash three homers within seconds to regain the lead and get a win.
The Orioles have shown the Yankees what they are all about. But there was no reason to throw a baseball at a Yankee on Sunday and that is why they didn't.