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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It was a 1-1 game in the bottom of the sixth inning of Game No. 78, Tuesday, June 26, in the most wretched season in Baltimore Orioles’ history. For one of the rare moments, it seemed the Orioles were in a good position to win. They had the bases loaded and no outs against the Seattle Mariners, when their slugger and valued star, Manny Machado, stepped to the plate.
Machado slapped a 3-1 pitch to Mariners’ second baseman Dee Gordon, who tossed to shortstop Jean Segura for one out. Then in his haste to double up Machado, Segura bobbled the ball before clutching once, then twice, then a third time before throwing to first.
Machado was out … by at least 10 feet.
For the few watching the Orioles on TV at home, Machado wasn’t even in the widescreen TV picture.
And this is who the Phillies want?
Further, will Machado’s antics play in Philly?
After Machado grounded into the double play, he was greeted by boos as he returned to the Orioles dugout, derailing a potentially big inning with a miserable effort in a miserable 47-115 season. Before Machado reached the dugout steps, he stared down those fans behind the Orioles’ dugout. Then he motioned for them with both hands to come out on to the field, as if challenging them to a fight.
Hall of Famer Jim Palmer, the Orioles’ TV color analyst, was livid.
Just imagine how Larry Andersen, who is as old-school as they come, will react to Machado.
Mike Greenhill, an avid Orioles’ fan with connections to Philadelphia, takes in a few games each year in Philadelphia. He’s also a keen observer of the Philly fan base. He knows Philadelphia fans love the tobacco-stained, head-first sliding, dirt-eating Lenny Dykstras and the nose-breaking, center-field-wall-slamming Aaron Rowands of the world.
Is pretty-faced Manny ready to do that in order to win?
“Manny is a child and he can’t fit in Philadelphia for the same reason he can’t fit for most teams, especially a young team like the Phillies, for his lousy attitude and that he’s lousy to his teammate,” Greenhill said. “Jim Palmer calls him out on his lack of hustle every time he does it. The worst incident was the 1-1 game against Seattle in the sixth inning.
“Manny just stopped running. The fans were going crazy. What he did was unconscionable. His teammates should have been all over for him for that. Manny just doesn’t get it. He never did get it. Then recently, Manny says, ‘Hustling is not my cup of tea.’ He’s 26 going on 12. He’s so immature. Manny doesn’t care and quits on his team.
“He’s definitely not the player for Philly, I’ll tell you that much. Baltimore fans are mild and forgiving, compared to the hardcore fans of Philly, New York and Boston. He’s a child. He may never grow up. There will be a team that signs him. If he does sign with the Phillies, I’ll give Manny three months before he wears out his welcome. Bryce Harper is perfect for Philadelphia and the Phillies. He works hard and plays hard. He could easily have 40 homers in that park and the fans will love him.”
Baseball is a game of failure. If you’re successful batting 3.5 times out of 10, you’re a superstar. Machado hit a combined .297 between the Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers. He also hit a combined 37 homers, with 107 RBIs. He hit .227 in the postseason, though two of his three hits in the NL divisional series were home runs.
So ask yourself, Phillies fans: Are you willing to turn the other way the times when Machado isn’t successful and lazy in exchange for the times he is? How long will it be before Andersen and Phillies’ fans go ballistic because Machado deems it beneath him to run full speed at all times?
It is a conundrum that the Phillies themselves have to take a look at before they attempt to spin it: Machado has promised to change his ways.
“Good luck with that,” warns Mike from Baltimore.