With coronavirus suspending spring training and pushing back Opening Day, it’s safe to say this is a very awkward situation for the Orioles. Inspired by these events, The Baltimore Battery has decided to talk about our top 5 most awkward moments ever in Orioles baseball!
Without further ado, let the awkwardness begin!
5. Brian Matusz get ejected for foreign substance on right arm.
In a game against the Miami Marlins on Saturday, May 23, 2015, a very awkward moment came to life by the actions of relief pitcher, Brian Matusz.
Entering the game in the 12th inning amidst a 0-0 tie, Matusz came in and made quick work of the first two batter, resulting in the first two outs.
It was after the second out that Marlins manager, Dave Jennings, went out to speak to home plate umpire, Jordan Baker.
When Baker and crew chief Paul Emmel found a foreign substance on Matusz’s right arm, Matusz was ejected and handed an eight-game suspension.
4. Empty Stadium game
On April 29, 2015, the Baltimore Orioles hosted the Chicago White Sox in MLB’s first ever empty stadium game. Due to civil unrest during the Baltimore riots, fans were unable to attend the game.
The most awkward part of this situation was watching the game on TV and hearing and seeing no fans and their reactions. It was like watching a simulated game after batting practice during the offseason.
The Orioles made up for the lack of crowd noise with their bats, with home runs from Chris Davis and Manny Machado. The Orioles scored five runs in the first inning of the game and won 8-2.
The Chicago White Sox went home following that game more quiet than the empty stadium they had just left.
3. Manny Machado’s feud with Josh Donaldson
Our next awkward Orioles moment is one fans wanted to forget immediately.
2014 was the most magical Orioles season in recent memory, yet features one of the worst Orioles moments; Manny Machado and Josh Donaldson’s feud.
In a game on Friday June 6, 2014, Manny Machado was advancing to third base. Oakland Athletics third baseman, Josh Donaldson, applied the tag on Machado. Machado thought the tag was dirty and applied too hard and jumped up and started screaming in the face of Josh Donaldson.
What makes this moment so awkward was Manny Machado’s retaliation. Later in that same series, Manny Machado disliked two inside pitches thrown near him and flung his bat down the third base line on his next swing.
An amazing season was tainted by sheer immaturity on the part of 21 year old Manny Machado.
2. Coronavirus suspending spring training and delaying Opening Day
The number two selection on our list is the situation we are currently experiencing. Only two weeks away from Opening Day, MLB decided to suspend spring training and push back Opening Day due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
What’s so awkward about this is the team, over the last two weeks of spring training, was working on cutting the roster down to 26 players, and now they cannot.
Even more awkward is the uncertainty of when baseball will even return. Among all the major sports being suspended, MLB being suspended is arguably the worst because all fans who have been waiting for months for the season to come around, are now left with only a tease.
1. Zack Britton riding the bench in the 2016 Wild Card game.
In the most recent playoff game the Orioles have participated in, one of the most head-scratching moments in all of sports happened.
Going into the 11th inning of a 2-2 tie in the single elimination Wild Card Game against the Toronto Blue Jays, manager Buck Showalter elected to bring in Ubaldo Jimenez to pitch.
All Oriole fans know the pain and suffering caused by Ubaldo Jimenez. To make things worse, Jimenez was brought into pitch instead of the league-leader in saves that year, closer Zack Britton.
Throughout the late stages of the game, all Oriole fans were wondering when their Cy Young candidate closer would enter the game. To all of our dismays, Britton would never enter the game.
In the home half of the 11th inning, Jimenez allowed two quick base runners, which was followed by the worst single swing in Orioles history.
As the third batter of the inning, Blue Jays DH Edwin Encarnacion launched the first pitch over the left field wall, ending the Orioles season. Besides just ending the Orioles season, the decision to pitch Jimenez over a man who held a minuscule 0.54 ERA ultimately closed the Orioles window of opportunity for a World Series.
What are your thoughts on our top 5 awkward Oriole moments? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!