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March 28, 2011

Fox draws ire of both managers today

Orioles catcher Jake Fox hit his Grapefruit League-leading 10th home run today in the Orioles 14-9 rout of the Detroit Tigers at Ed Smith Stadium. However, he left a pretty poor impression on both managers because of one sequence in the eighth inning.

The Orioles had runners on second and third and no outs in the eighth inning today when Fox came to the plate against Tigers minor leaguer Chance Ruffin. The most important aspect of this story is the score was 13-3 at the time, and both teams had subbed out most of their regulars. Ruffin started the at-bat with three straight balls, but Fox decided to take a rip at a 3-0 pitch in a clear take situation.

It certainly qualified as a breach of baseball etiquette. Swinging 3-0 in a 10-run game with no outs in the eighth inning with a minor league pitcher on the mound is a decent way to make sure you get a fastball in the ribs in your next at-bat. The average fan may not think it was a big deal but Orioles manager Buck Showalter and Tigers manager Jim Leyland certainly did.

Showalter angrily yanked off his hat, and was seen yelling in the home dugout to anyone in particular. His hat off the whole time, he kept shaking his head and muttering throughout the rest of Fox's at-bat, which resulted in a walk Leyland, meanwhile, yelled at Fox from the top step of the dugout.

When Fox was removed for a pinch runner, Showalter made sure that he was one of the first people to meet him in the dugout and he gave him an earful. The Orioles manager was still fuming about it after the game as it apparently wasn't the first time this spring where Fox ignored a clear take situation.

Fox is obviously going to make this team, but I'm guessing that it's things like this that Showalter, a big proponent of playing the game right, is not going to tolerate in the long run.


Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 8:51 PM | | Comments (98)
        

Comments

Keep in mind that Fox is trying (and succeeding) to put up #s for all teams to see. He won't play much once the season starts - this is his best time to impress.

Its spring training and no one has come out and told Jake that he is on the team, so in his mind, he still has to make it clear that he belongs on the 25 man roster. I just got back from watching the O's for 4 days and Fox is becoming one of my favorites. He plays the game hard because he appreciates the place he is and what might be achieved this year if he is given the chance. His walkup music- Jason Aldean's "Keep on Climbing"-


Jason Aldean, I Use What I Got Lyrics
Looking for Jason Aldean tabs and chords? Browse alphabet (above).

Artist: Aldean Jason
Song: I Use What I Got
Album: Jason Aldean - Relentless Jason Aldean Sheet Music
Jason Aldean CDs

Send “I Use What I Got” Ringtone to Cell Phone

Nobody ever thought I'd make it in this town
They all said i should leave my truck, pack, and turn right back around
They said I didn't have what it takes
I needed money and a pretty face
But I just look at them and say...

I use what I got
Take what I get
Give Until I ain't got nothin' left
Then I give it some more
Keep on climbing up that mountain
Keep truckin' along, work up a sweat
Pass every no, after no, after no, till I get a yes
I don't worry about what I'm not
I use what I got, yeah

I still got big dreams and a strong heart
I got a lot of real good friends who helped me get this far
I still got a lot of miles to go
It's a winding, uphill road
But I'll get there the only way I know

I use what i got
Take what I get
Give Until I ain't got nothin left
Then I give it some more
Keep on climbin' up that mountain
Keep truckin' along, work up a sweat
Pass every no, after no, after no, till I get a yes
I don't worry about what I'm not
I use what I got, yeah

Keep on rollin' along, doin' my best
Pass every no after no after no til I get a yes
I don't worry about what I'm not
No, no, I don't worry about what I'm not
I use what i got, yeah

He gets his money's worth when he is at bat, runs hard everytime and plays the game right. How can you NOT root like hell for this guy?!?

Isnt the point of spring training to get your swings in and get loose? I dont care if it is a 10 run game, because the game doesnt matter. Its not going to be on ESPN or MLBnetwork. Let the guy swing his freaking bat

That is sheer nonsense. I wish Fox would have hit it 450 feet and then mooned Leyland upon touching home plate.

How about you put a pitcher out there who can throw the ball over the freakin' plate?

Thank you baseball gods for sending the Os Buck Showalter.

For real??? This man is still trying to earn a spot on the roster. This is Spring Training for christ sakes. Sorry dont agree with you on this Buck. As for Leyland, maybe you should give your pathetic pitching an earful instead of Fox. Un-written code BULL. Whiners!!!!!! Sorry folks, the game isnt over till the last strike.

A mild rebuke should have been sufficient Buck. I don't think it's fair to climb all over him. How can you blame the man for trying to put an exclamation point on his effort to make the team. After all, he's leading the majors in spring training home runs, yet has publicly heard from his manager that his roster spot is not assured.

by far the best post of the spring!

What a joke? Boo hoo you are actually upset that an Oriole is going all out in a supposed contest that is over and meaningless. So what, the O's need some heart and motivation to never say die and continue hitting and swinging no matter what the situation is. And Buck can go fly a kite because he doesn't know what it has been like the past 15 years around here for us fans.

I say, keep swing Jake and if the situation arises again hit one over the clock at Camden Yards. If Buck doesn't like it then he can cry in his hat.

This is an example of the type of coverage that keeps me coming to this blog. Great post

Jeff, I understand the rule and etiquette, but does the fact that it's ST mean nothing?

I don't know Fox's mindset, but he still isn't a stone cold lock to make the team and a walk isn't necessarily gonna make a huge impression, especially with runners on 2nd and 3rd and no out. What if he was just trying to solidify his case for the roster and had a brain cramp?

I think this is a bit overblown.

I don't get it. Why can't you swing at 3-0 pitch. Worse yet why would your own manager get mad at you? Fastball in the ribs for swinging at a pitch in a game? Dumbest thing I have heard.

Great post. Anyone that thinks this is crazy doesn't understand how old-schoolers like Showalter and Leyland approach the game. They grew up in an era where respect and team actually mattered; not today when most players are in it for the next big contract. Recommended read: http://www.amazon.com/Baseball-Codes-Beanballs-Bench-Clearing-Unwritten/dp/0375424695.

Im sorry but these are professional ball players fighting for jobs. You do what you have to do. I don't remember the Rangers showing any mercy when they beat the orioles 30-3 a few years back. So I don't want to hear complaining about a guy swinging because the count is 3-0 in a 10 run game.

Quite frankly I disagree with the reaction from both managers. I played baseball thru college and it seems to me that the opposite reaction would have occurred.
If Fox were swiping a bag up by 10 I would say that is a clear violation of baseball etiquette. However, swinging at a 3-0 pitch gives the pitcher a chance to gain an out he was struggling to get.

In a sport where being successful means you do your job as a hitter three times out of ten (maybe 3.5 out of 10 when you are up 3-0 in the count), Fox clearly had a greater chance of committing an out by swinging then getting on base. Subsequently, Fox had a greater chance of bailing the pitcher out in that situation than doing anything productive for the team.

Ho-hum. I love Buck, but don't make this a huge deal. No need to get in the head of a player who is trying to make the team #mashingthecrapoutoftheball

When showoffwalter can hit 10 home runs then he can talk. Until then sit down and shut the hell up Buck. He is trying to make a living

I think the point is that Fox will make the team if he has the right combination of talent, attitude, AND baseball knowledge. Everybody know he can mash, and demanding professionalism in spring training is not unreasonable. We're better than this, O's fans.

As I started reading this, I expected to hear that Fox did some sort of dance while rounding the bases for yet another home run. I'm all for respect and tradition, but this is flat out stupid. A "minor league" player is STILL a professional. It's high time the O's start flexing some muscle and stop acting like the doormats of the AL!! Three cheers for Jake! I like Buck, but this "incident" is foolish.

Buck will be gone after the All-Star break, he's managed to tick everyone in the AL East and now the Baltimore fanbase by being a Rex Ryan wannabe.

"Keep in mind that he's trying to put up #'s for all teams to see." Said Tim.

Well, managers and scouts are a little more street wise than the average fan, who might be easily impressed, so numbers alone don't impress them; I certainly don't think they are that naive, and of course, they have the ear of the men doing the hireing.

My guess is that Showalter and Leyland were angry for different reasons. Buck was probably ticked that Fox was potentially giving up an out to someone who couldn't get the ball over the plate. My .02 is that the minute Jim Leyland says his team gives up and won't try to come back and win would be the minute that I'd have one of my batters give them an ounce of slack. Get 'em Jake!!

Baseball and all it's stupid rules of etiquette. So damn sensitive are baseball players...geesh. The guy is trying to make the club, give him a break.

I guess you have checked and verified this is what Buck was upset about too... But also realize Buck that Fox isn't an established player assured of a roster job. But I am sure Buck will make his point and move on although if buck has to have this example every day by one player he will explode some.. Still Buck is what we need and we have to do it his way and have the proper respect for the game,.. This may just be overblown or Buck felling a young player not listening and learning.

Kinda seems to me that if he got BOTH managers p-o'ed at him, he must have done something right!!

This "Baseball Etiquette" is trash made up by a bunch of mini-minds. I could write a book on these stupid rules, as could most who post here. To me, as long as the game is being played, it should be played all out. To do less is to steal from the paying customers. If Leyland wanted to throw in the towel and take his team home, fine. Otherwise the game goes on full tilt until the final out.


Even the most elite baseball players miss signs. It's only ST. Jake Fox doesn't have the defensive skills of Tatum, Reynolds or Lee. He's not a lefthanded power hitter like Scott. He's not going to replace Guerrero as the DH. But he is the best pinch hiiter on the Oriole bench. I do think he needs to be told by the manager, "Hey, relax you made the team" so that the team can get on with the season together.

If Buck is a Rex wannabe then that is great: we're going places and I'm onboard. On Fox: no big deal. Like someone said: just throw strikes baby

I hope the media asked Showalter about what many posters here have said, that it's ST and the guy is trying to get in his swings. Does it make any difference?

I totally understand the concept of playing the game right, but suppose it was Tyler Henson or Xavier Avery at the plate, a couple of guys trying to make an impression, would it have been any different for them?

I think these are questions that should be put to the manager, both of them, maybe.

Baseball etiquette = Baseball

These so called unwritten rules of baseball never fail to confuse me. I could understand this "rule" if there were runners on 1st and 2nd, since you'd want to move them over with a walk. But it makes sense to swing at a 3-0 pitch with runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs!

O.K. so the guy is playing a little too hard for spring training....what a refreshing change. A little @ss chewing often means you're right where you need to be.

"I think the point is that Fox will make the team if he has the right combination of talent, attitude, AND baseball knowledge. Everybody know he can mash, and demanding professionalism in spring training is not unreasonable. We're better than this, O's fans."

Posted by: Os fan in Manhattan

My thoughts too. It might not be a big deal to some, & I understand ST is meant for showcasing your talents, but this is exactly what Buck is trying to bring to Baltimore...professionalism, knowledge, & respect. It's time these "young" players do grow up & become the type of men Buck is leading them to be...Winners.

A man is leading his team in HRs and RBI, and he continues to hear whispering of how he hasn't made the team yet? Anybody would try to produce in his situation. He should be batting clean up or fifth throughout the season.

If they're so gung-ho over these ST games, quit playing these damn ties!

The score was 13-3 at the time. I'm sorry but wasn't the final score 14-9, that's almost a save situation. Let the guy swing the bat, that's why their is spring training. I like fox allot I've watched him play here in FL and i think he's a keeper.

I can see both sides of this . No manager wants his players showing anyone up . It always comes back to haunt you . My second thought is know one has told Fox he is on the team . The only thing Fox has heard is if he's going to make the team , he has to do it as a back up catcher . I think Showater is one of the best managers in baseball , but lets be fair about this .
Thanks for letting me post .
Curt

Swing away, Jake! Leyland and Buck are way off base on this one. Too bad Fox didn't knock it out of the park.

I didn't see Leyland's team put their bats away in that 6 run top of the 9th. Why should Jake?

I'm going to join the chorus here. It's a freakin' spring training game, they have 4 and 5 out innings sometimes. Fox is trying to make his case to be on the team, Leyland's pitcher was presumably learning to pitch against real hitters, and the game doesn't count anyway.
I love that baseball has it's traditions, but some of them, like this tatrum at Fox swinging on a 3-0 pitch, are just idiotic.

There's a term old timers like Buck and Leyland use to describe what Fox did, "Bush League". It was a selfish disrespectful act that could come back to bite the O's in the series against the Tigers next week. Fox has had a decent offensive spring but he needs to act like he's been there.

I guess Buck buys into the ole "Do as I say, not as I do" school. HE can engage in low class trash talk but his players had better not violate the rules of etiquette.

Fox was a bad boy!

Final score was 14 - NINE.

Were the Tigers taking?

A point that may have been missed is, If you're going to play the game the correct way, one of the basic fundamentals is to take a pitch with a 3 and 0 count and nobody out. It doesn't have anything to do with etiquette or the score. I think Buck was mad because major league players should know this basic fundamental. Don't swing in that situation unless the coach gives you the green light. We learned this in elementary school.

Did the Rangers let up when they were crub stomping the Orioles 27-3? Hell no. They kept swinging and off of a 3 run homerun they made it 30 to effin 3!!! So now its a probably when an Oriole swings at a 3-0 pitch in spring training off of a minor league pitcher...oh I get it now.

I wouldn't be surprised if Buck got mad because Jim Leyland got mad. You know he has been in an apologetic state lately. Got to keep up appearances you know.

Do people even read the blog? This doesn't seem to be a baseball "unwritten rules" issue. I can't see how anyone would be defending him if the following is true.

"The Orioles manager was still fuming about it after the game as it apparently wasn't the first time this spring where Fox ignored a clear take situation."

Sounds like Buck was upset because he ignored a take sign...and it wasn't the first time. Don't give me this nonsense about him trying to make the team. This tells me he is either not very smart, or is really about his own numbers and not the good of the team.

What is the number one way freak injuries occur? Swinging a bat. Baseball etiquette exists for a reason.

You really want to finish in last again???

I think you guys are missing the point.

Fox had a "take" sign, and swung through it.

If Fox can't be trusted to do something simple like this in spring training (put the bat on his shoulder when you're ahead of the count and up big against a minor league pitcher) then can he be trusted to take a swing during a hit-and-run, or take a pitch to allow a stolen base?

Fox has had a great spring. But if you don't do what your manager (aka your boss) is telling you, you'll find yourself on the bench - or worse. Baseball is a team game. If Fox wants an individual sport, he can golf or bowl.

I understand the importance of Jake's trying to make the team, however, if he was given the take sign and swung away, then he needs to be yelled at. If I don't do what my boss tells me to do I would expect the same. Part of being a great player is listening to those in charge. I am sick and tired of those who think they can do whatever they want and not pay attention to the mall details.

...if it's the regular season and it's a10 run lead and a 3-0 count, you better go for an 11 run lead---chances are, you're gonna win that game--what happens if they come back and you lose by a run? The loss is clearly on the manager for being such a gentleman....so your guy gets one in the ribs? Then their guy does too. Win the game. Win a season. Etiquette. It's similar to an ump "moving the game along" when the score is similar in the late innings. They just want to go home. That's no reason to stop doing your job. The most recent example of officiating that way came in NCAA basketball. Big East Tourney--Rutgers-St. John's...the ref stopped reffing... this season Buck, just win them and then worry about playing the game "right".

Guess when you buy a ticket to a PROFESSIONAL baseball game, you can pay after the game. First, you decide what you liked or didn't and pay for what you want. Or isn't it the purpose of the game for EACH player to give their best effort in EACH AND EVERY situation, 100% of the time regardless of the score? Fox was right. Showalter and Leyland have no right to compromise a game. If that minor league pitcher can't take the heat, let him go away, S. T. or not. It's still PROFESSIONAL sports. Since when do we pay good money to see a player get "protected"? Poor pitcher....if Fox can knock the ball 500 feet, turn him loose. And if the opposing pitcher can't stop him....well, isn't that the game of baseball after all? Pitching vs. hitting. Don't arrange the outcome.
Let the chips fall where they may.

If Buck gave him the take sign and Fox didn't take, Buck has every reason to be mad.

Otherwise, I'm not sure what the big deal is, as many have already said. Did Leyland notice that the Tigers cut the lead to FOUR runs by the end of the game?

I realize winning isn't everything in spring training, but there's no clock in baseball.

This is why people call you Baltimorons...
You have no concept of the game, the history, and or the courtesies in Baseball...
This is also why the best ballpark in baseball sits empty like a tomb during the summer when is should be full (except when the Yankee and Sox fans show up)...

Any idiot knows that you never ever show up the opposing team when you have them down by 10 runs late in the game... Simple un-written rule known by everyone who has ever played the game properly...

Good call Buck... teach the kid the Oriole Way

You guys missed the point, yeah Leyland was upset because of the un-written baseball rules but Buck's issue is that he expects his players to play the game the way he expects them to play the game.

If you have clear take situation then you should be taking the pitch, real simple. If this were in season that move might cost him his job. You have to play smart and that's what got Buck mad, not the un-written rule.

The fact that Jake is trying to make the club is non-relevant, he needs to follow the instructions of his manager and coaches. It's how good teams become great because everyone understands the expectations of the manager and plays the game according to his wishes.

The manager is the one with his head on the chopping block and I don't think they appreciate players doing things that will get them fired.

If you want to find another team to play with, then continue to not follow Buck's instructions and see how long you're here.

Just play smart.

Leyland and showalter can both go BUCK themselves, this guy is trying to make the team not show off his etiquette skills

i love how these comments all think they know the game of baseball better than leyland and showalter.
the morons of the baltimore sun blogs never fail to bring the humor.

For those of you saying he's trying to make the roster: I'd argue that taking a pitch in the right situation is just as important as hitting another HR.

Was the take sign on? If it was, then Fox swung through it and should be reprimanded. If it wasn't, then the fault is with the manager and/or the 3B coach. Fox is trying to make a team. He should swing away unless he's told not to.

Jeff - I'm a huge Buck fan, but unless the third base coach flashed the take sign that was ignored or missed, I can't see that Jake did anything wrong.

I can see Leyland being upset, but that's just gamesmanship; Buck being upset is another matter.

Sure the score was 13-3, but it ended 14-9, as the Tigers scored 7 runs in the last two innings. While they didn't quite make a game of it, it's a reminder that teams can rally.

Would Showalter get upset during the regular season if in a similar situation a hot-hitting Fox swings at a 3-0 pitch against, say, the Red Sox in Fenway?

I doubt it. In the AL East the Orioles are going to need to take advantage of every opportunity to add runs, regardless the score.

What happened might never have occurred if Buck gave Fox assurance he was on the roster, rather than drag things out long after Jake had proven himself worthy. (As far as I know, he still hasn't officially been named to the roster.)

Under such uncertain circumstances, shouldn't Fox be doing everything he can to show he deserves a spot? Is Showalter trying to tell us that he'd be happier if Fox took three straight strikes and then walked back to the bench without ever making an effort to hit the ball?

But if the answer is that Jake should have taken a couple of strikes before swinging, are we to think it somehow "better" that he strikes out on 3-2. I don't see it.

Bottom line: If you don't want to pile on the runs in such situations, send the batters to the plate empty-handed; otherwise, if the man has a bat in his hand, let him swing.

I've always played and taught that if you practice hard and fundementally sound, then you'll play hard and fundementally sound. Spring Training game or not and regardless of the score 3-0 is a hitters count. And on the other side of the field, what does that teach a young pitcher? If he wants to progress and get used to real game situations, he better expect the batter to be swinging if he throws a meatball. This isn't little league, but little leaguers do learn a lot from watching, so be men and play the game the way it should be played "hard to the end". Great spring training Jake, I hope that you are rewarded with a spot on the team, which you have EARNED!

How about this? Showalter is trying to teach young player (the Orioles hanve many) the correct way to lpay the game. He is in charge. More than likely the take sign was on and Fox ignored it. Ignoring the signs of the manager is not the way to play the game correctly. I am sure that Buck Showalter knows more about baseball and the right way to play the game than all of us together. Say what you want but disrespect and selfishness are evidenced in epidemic prortions today in our society. I have nothing against Jake Fox, but really, do what you are told, simple as that.

Seems like Buck has a good beef, since Jake didn't follow orders, but Leyland is just being stupid, in this case.

Go, Jake! Tell Buck that you;re sorry but you really want to get the most out of every at bat and, in your case, a BB doesn't help you make the team, no matter what sign you get. You were just being aggressive. Cool to see that.

Funny that the "rules" never are brought up when we see Pedroia or Ellsbury trying to get an extra base in the 8th inning when the BoSox are ahead by 6. That's because they're "spunky" and "play the game hard". Yeah...right.

3-0 count with men on second and third and a hot hitter at the plate... If uncle Buck threw up a take sign, then boo on him. Leyland has been a professional whiner for years. Give me a team full of fiery competitors that wins 90... you can have your 65 win team that observes the rules of "etiquette". Give me Belichek, you can have Leyland.

If Fox ignored a take sign, then Buck's anger is well-placed. If, however, there was no sign, then obviously Fox should have license to do whatever he thinks is best up there.

All sorts of unwritten rules get broken in spring training in order to get the teams ready. Had Jake shown up an opposing pitcher in a 10-run lead regular season game, then and only then would it be inexcusable.

And it appears to be a lopsided rule anyway. Seems to me that other teams are always slamming it home when the shoe is on the other foot; mostly, it might be added, during regular season.

The etiquette in a blowout should be to put in the scrubs late in the game. But asking them not to play is unfair to the players and wastes a chance of seeing what they can do. And having them to lie down and die is - or should be - offensive to the other team.

If Showalter doesn't want the guy to swing, put the take sign on! He is supposed to be doing the thinking about this sort of stuff, not Fox.

Spent two weeks in Sarasota and am much more impressed with Fox than Showalter...or Leyland.

Had Joe Madden been managing the O's this would be a nonevent. You see, Joe has his club PLAY THE FULL NINE INNINGS.

Get a clue Buck. The fans don't pay to see anything less and if you or the other club think that is unsporting then you need to dig into your pocket and kick some change back to the great unwashed who pay good money to see players like Jake Fox.

Put me in Jake's corner on this one. I hope somebody has smelling salts ready for Buck should Joe apply a thorough beat down for all nine innings to his O's in the opening series this weekend.

Its kinda funny how many people who don't truly understand the nuances of this unique and wonderful game take the time to post their opinions.
I'm sorry, you can't just "disagree with Buck on this one"; it would be more prudent to learn something.
How would getting a hit or home run 3 -0 in a ten run blowout game help him to '"make the team" when his own manager determines that ?
Fox will be on the team, get playing time, and learn from this transgression. Buck got his point across and will not hold a grudge.

Spring training isn't about getting your "swings". It's about getting your at-bats. Two completely different things. Buck simply wanted him to act like it was a real game, which is the point in spring training games by the way, and get on base. Not swing at a 3-0 count when the pitcher is just trying to create a force out at any base. So by him swinging at that pitch and giving the pitcher a break, and the chance that he wouldn't have to get his pitch count up for at least one more batter after Fox, Fox is essentially hurting the team. If the bases were loaded, guess what, the pitcher has to throw strikes and your chance of actually scoring that run go up. In the spring training games, get your at-bats, see your pitches, and play like you're supposed to. Learning to take that walk will win you more games during the season than swinging with only first base open.

If anything, Buck's harsh rebuke might, MIGHT, prevent Leyland from ordering one in the ribs during the season.

...............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: Good post. Don't think Buck didn't think of that, not necessarily spare Fox, but one of his regular players.

Awwww Boo Hooooo

I'm gonna have to echo the sentiments of just about everybody on this blog. If your minor league pitcher can't play with the big boyz then cry me a freaking river Leyland. I don't care if its a 10 run game or a 1 run game. This is professional baseball not golf, gimme a break.

This doesn't have a thing to do with respect for the game or for the opposing team.

I have one question for Leyland at the point of the game at which this incident occurred: "Do you guys give up ?"

I don't believe in prescribed "situations" based upon the count or the score.

The reason a guy goes up to the plate with a bat in his hand is to try to hit the ball.... not take a dive becowse the po po widdle pitchow on the mound is a minor leaguer and we awreddy have enough runs.

Leyland is a senile baby.
And I'm disappointed in Buck for enabling him.
Buck should have yelled at Leland "What, do you guys give up ?"

Baseball is a very cerebral game for sure.
However, let's not make it abstract.

For all those complaining about baseball ettiquette and what was said by Buck, nowhere in Jeff's comments was it confirmed what he (Buck) said to Fox during or after the at-bat. TGC3RD (and others) may have it right...perhaps Fox was ignoring an obvious take situation. Not because of the score, but because it was 3-0 and first base open.

So, until Buck's exact comments are know, there's nothing really to debate. Is there?

I think Showalter probably harbors some resentment of Fox because he has hit his way onto the team but he's a poor defensive catcher and so not an ideal back-up (and he won't hit this well when the season starts and he is playing a part-time role).

I agree with the managers here, and Fox should be told that he has done something foolish. The question is whether you show him up like Buck did, and that's a tougher call. I always wince when I see managers make examples out of bench players.

I must say I'm really proud of the fans responding to this post. With 50 comments and counting it's running about 8 to 1 people saying there's nothing wrong with what Jake Fox did today.

The "code" that Leyland and Showalter are adhering to is neither sound in theory nor practical in real life. These managers would have you believe that there are times when it's okay to deliberately throw a fastball at someone's ribs, but oh the travesty if a baseball player swings the bat in a hitter's count in a game with a big lead. Is it okay to swing on a 2-0 count? What if the lead is only 6 runs? If the game wanted to have a slaughter rule it would have one, otherwise I say lay off a player for doing what he is supposed to do (i.e., hitters are supposed to hit) well within the rules of the game. As others have pointed out, this is a young player trying his best to make an impression on the Orioles and every other team around the league, and while GMs reviewing his spring performance will notice a higher batting average or more home runs, they're unlikely to give much credit for "that one time when Fox decided not to swing at perfectly good pitches because of some ridiculous baseball code that not even Showalter could explain."

Leyland has no right to criticize the players the Orioles put on the field or the plays those players make, as long as they are within the rules. If he wants to keep a big lead from getting bigger he needs to put a decent pitcher on the mound; that's it. This is the big leagues, not some girls softball league where winning isn't as important as ensuring that nobody ends up crying in the end. Orioles fans know this truism better than most.

As for Showalter, I have three things to say. The first is that Fox was not in the wrong- that much is inarguable. The second is that even if Showalter believed Fox to be wrong, making such a spectacle about it is entirely the wrong way to go about it. You address it with the player behind closed doors, problem solved. This seems like he was playing for the cameras and for the other team more than for his own guys. And that stinks.

It says a lot that at an 8 to 1 clip, fans on this blog who follow baseball closely and are hugely supportive of Showalter, think that Buck was clearly wrong on this. It's easy for sportswriters and managers to dismiss fan sentiment as uninformed and fickle, and were the posts 50/50 maybe that would be feasible. But with 90% (8:1) of avid baseball followers (and devout Showalter fans) taking a stand against Buck on this one, somebody should take notice.

It's a shame one of the O's beat writers couldn't give Buck a sense of fan sentiment on this, something like "Buck, regarding the tirade you threw the other day after Jake Fox swung at a 3-0 pitch. An overwhelming 90% of Orioles fans on the Sun website are saying that was wrong, and that there isn't any "code" that justifies expecting a young player trying to prove himself in spring training to lay off a pitch in a hitter's count. Can you explain the reasoning behind your tantrum?"

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JEff Z's reply: Tantrum? Tirade? He was clearly angry as he ripped off his hat and was yelling in the dugout. But to describe it as either a tantrum or tirade is a little much. And if I led you to believe it was either, then I did a bad job and it's my fault.

Grow up Buck.............

I won't lose a wink of sleep because Leyland is upset. I hate the "etiquette" rules. You play, you play hard, and you play to win. If Leland doesn't like it ... boo-freaking-hoo.

Having said that, if Fox was told to take a pitch, then by golly, Fox needs to take a pitch! Managers are managing a game based on situations and look at the bigger picture. Showalter has a strategy and is trying to win based on that strategy. If a player seems to think it's okay to not adhere to the coach's strategy, then he deserves an earful from the coach.

If this wasn't the first time then He deserved to get reemed. But i can't see where a HR vs a minor league pitcher would make or break Fox's chances of making the O's. Go O's!!!

I'm amazed at how many people missed the point. Everyone is saying that Fox did the right thing by swinging on a 3-0 pitch with nobody out because he's trying to make the team. Wrong. If he's trying to make the team, he better know that you ALWAYS take in that situation. Always. No exceptions. Swinging for the fences in this situation isn't going to impress your manager, it's going to demonstrate your complete lack of knowledge of baseball fundamentals. It has nothing to do with etiquette. Showalter was absolutely correct to be angry.

This is ridiculous. Why not swing at 3-0 with a big lead? What is the rationale?

Swinging at 3-0 might end the game sooner; one would think both teams would want that.

What's wrong is the writer's suggested retaliation -- throwing at somebody because you're behind 10-0 and they tried to swing at one of your pitches. Players should be suspended for that.

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Jeff Z's reply: I wasn't suggesting or advocating Jake wearing a fastball the next time the two teams play. I was stating those are the types of things that get you targeted. Trust me, I asked around the clubhouse and while Jake is a real well-liked guy, everyone pretty much agreed that that he shouldn't have swung. And it's really not that big of a deal. I wrote it because I thought it was interesting to see Buck get so angry in the dugout, but it's not like I think there is this stewing bad blood between the Orioles and the Tigers.

Hey, I'm for "playing the game the right way" as much as anyone, but I don't agree with Buck nor the sometimes overrated Leyland at all on this one. A player should go all out until the final out.

Ok, so if your fighting for a job and your boss tells you to do something, you do it right? Ok, so he made a mistake once, but then he does it again? You see, baseball etiquette aside, when the manager gives the take sign, you take. Seems to me his job wouldn't still be in jeopardy if he didn't miss signs. Nothing frustrates a manager more than a player who refuses to follow directions.

Anyone talking negatively towards Buck needs to be quiet.
No show boating on this team. There is no room on this team for errors or problems with people listening to the coaching staff. When the third base coach says take the pitch, you take the pitch.
This team has no super stars, no one above the rules and a player who is trying to make the team as a bench player, should understand that doing what you are told is more important than hitting home runs.
Anyone who thinks different doesn't get it and honestly, if they show that as a pattern, should be off the team.
Guerrero wouldn't pull that kind of thing and he is the biggest free-swinger.

Best comment made by Brett....did the Rangers show any respect when pounding us 30-3 in our park? Fox is just tryng to make the team. Relax with the old school garbage...btw the final was 13-9 correct, so it turned out ot be a littel closer huh??? Idiots....

Showalter has had a lot of fan currency to work with since arriving. He is starting to spend it unwisely. He needs to talk a lot less and go about his work quietly. The comments about the Boston front office were stupid. There is a real-world etiquette and it says if you can't say something nice about somebody, KEEP QUIET! We really don't need the O's manager pumping up the Red Sox for a little action against the O's. Maybe its time Showalter stops reading all the glorious press and settles down to just quietly running the baseball club. Regardless of what he thought of Fox's performance, acting like a 4 year old in a sandbox fight was a lot more unprofessional than anything Fox did. Buck is sure making John Harbaugh look like a superstar. Anytime the manager is the front page news, he is in trouble!

Fox isn’t some rookie in his first spring training; he’s been around for a while and knows how to act. Not to mention we’re one week from regular season, this should be the way people can be expected to play most of the season. We hired Showalter for this exact reason! He’s got to let everyone in the world know that such things are not going to be tolerated, most especially the bench. Even if he did hit the ball 500 feet, it was a gimme pitch, we already know he’s got a little power. I just don’t see what he would have accomplished. I’ll admit that I’m surprised Leyland said anything. That seems to be more out of place. It’s Showalter’s team and therefore Showalter’s problem. If Leyland didn’t see Buck doing anything, then Fox gets a fastball to the ribs.

I agree with all the folks that said Fox was still fighting for a job so he wasl trying to make the team by doing all he can. Tatum was sent down so he's on the team, but wasn't when this took place, but I think Buck wasn't in the wrong either because he feels a certain way about things and it sends a message to everyone in the locker room that it's my way or the highway! DT talked about punishing guys for doing things the wrong way, but that's all it was, talk! Buck doesn't care how much you are making, you do it his way or you wont be playing much.

Buck is calling out a player for etiquette? What a hypocrite. So I guess it's appropriate to call out a GM for a division rival for doing his job with the resources he has available? Sounds like sour grapes, because he works for Peter Angelos, who doesn't put revenues back into the team. That's not Theo's fault. Buck showed less class than the kid Fox did.

Fox should have know that whatever he did to that pitch wasn't going to help him make the team. That's the issue. Everyone can say "he was trying to make the team!" but he should be smart enough to know that even a 500 foot homer wouldn't help him in Showalter's eyes. Know your manager, understand the situation.

That being said, its ironic that Showalter is called "a big proponent of playing the game right" when he showed ZERO class in running his mouth about the other teams in his division. Doesn't really leave him a leg to stand on.

Like others have mentioned.
1) Fox is fighting for a job.
2) The Tigers were pretty close to coming back.
Unless the issue is that he disobeyed a "do not swing" order, I don't understand why Showalter was upset.
Would the Tigers have been less competitive if Fox had taken that pitch?

If both managers can't handle a guy swinging on a 3-0 count in freakin' spring training games, maybe both ought to retire. Maybe Leyland ought to throw a guy out there that doesn't walk people. Spring "training" is too long anyhow.

I hope that when the Orioles play the Tigers this season and Fox is in the lineup, Leyland tells his pitcher to throw right at Fox, and then Fox doesn't head to the mound, he heads to beat the hell out of Leyland!!!

agree with orsulakfan and tony... BS violates a bigger rule in all sports. A coach/mgr should never throw a public spectacle in trashing one of his own players--it is bad showboating and destructive to the player and team--do it just as forcefully but out of the public eye. Leyland can scream out what he wants.

i suspect Buck is superfrayed by the annual spring swelling of the Os injury list... two of his thin staff of starting pitchers hit by line drives within one week!

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Jeff Z's reply: While he reacted angrily when he did it, Buck met Fox in the corner of the dugout after he was pinch-run for. The players obviously could see it if they were paying attention - and several were - but most people didn't even notice. It's not like he marched onto the field to berate him. But certainly, his message got across.

If Fox ignored a take sign, Buck did the right thing...nobody is above the team.

Leyland needs to shut up. If you dont want to get piled on, pull your team off the field or send them to the plate with no bats so the game can get finished quicker.

I'd think when you're up big late in the game, you're taking 3-0...as opposed to a close game, hot hitter, let it rip.

It seems like Bucks the kind of guy who will let Fox have it, then its forgotten (unless it happens again.)

Last year Mike Scioscia threw a fit in the visitors dugout because Felix Pie did a pop -up slide and clapped his hands after hitting a triple. This was interpreted by MS as showing up his team. Pie was excited that he had finally produced and the last thing on his mind was showing some fat, overpaid, prima donna LA manager. Maybe the adults associated with MLB, if any, should stop getting their overinflated egos so easily wounded over such things as a kid happily sliding into third base or another kid swinging at a 3-0 pitch as if all of this was equivalent to mass murder or the like. Get a life guys and stop feeling so delicate and self-absorbed. There really are serious problems in the world. Getting lathered up because some young man swung at a 3-0 pictch or slid happily into third base shows a complete lack of perspective as to what is important.

This reminded me of coaching my kids. When my kids were 5, I used to get ticked off when they were getting pummeled and watching the oposing coaches waving their kids home to put the score at 21-0. After a while I started to think, how are they going to learn the game if the other team starts taking it easy on them. It's not fair to development of the players for either team. Both of these guys need to take something away from that AB. Pitcher needs to work on throwing strikes early in the count and Fox needs to learn that he should have laid off of the pitch, not because of unwritten rules, but because it was the smart play to make. What if he hit into a double play or popped it up in the infield? You need to take advantage of every opportunity you are given.

This concerns me because the O's need to develop some sort of killer instinct. I don't know the situation - maybe he was given the take sign, but having your own manager rail on you for trying to deliver a knockout punch is not a good start. Final score was 13-9, not exactly a blowout. What if they had ended up losing? Granted it was only a Spring Training game but that's the point.

Both Leyland & Showalter blew it here! Jake was feeling sorry for the pitcher and took a swing at ball 4 to keep the game moving. He was embarrassed by the score. Too bad he didn't hit ST dinger #11, since the Tigers rallied back.

Somebody needs to lighten up!

If Fox blew off the sign he should be repremanded but there are two sides to this, which coach flashed the sign? Did Fox see it ? Do you have a problem getting Jake's side of the story?
If Leyland has a problem with swing at an 0-3 pitch he should get a pitcher that can throw strikes.
It's too bad that you slant your story using unattributed sources that state "this is not the first time this has happened". Who told you this? When did this happen? I always thought the Sun had higher journalistic standards than blogism

Losers!! This is awful. Screw the unwritten rules. The ball was probably out of the zone and he was giving an 'excuse' me strike. If not, and he's swinging, so what. Bring up pitchers who can get outs. I guarantee in the regular season is smokin' Jim is up 13-3 on the O's he's not going to be bunting outs back to the pitcher. Second of all - The O's never win. We need as many bloody runs as possible because it can evaporate in an instant, just ask any O's fan of the past 15 years.

There were few insightful comments here on this blog.

A couple noteworthy well written posts

"Its kinda funny how many people who don't truly understand the nuances of this unique and wonderful game take the time to post their opinions"

Posted by: onceawarrior | March 29, 2011 9:55 AM

"Spring training isn't about getting your "swings". It's about getting your at-bats"

Posted by: Josh in Harrisburg | March 29, 2011 9:57 AM

Otherwise the majority of you can go watch the NBA or wait for the NFL to start back up if you wish to see how great games devolve when the individuals do what they want and feel they are more important than the team and/or the Game.

I am sure that Jake wasn't thinking and would now tell you all that it was the wrong thing to do.

If not maybe that is why he doesn't stick with a team as he has certainly shown that he can hit the ball far.

To all of you equivocating a spring training game with non MLB players to a regular season game

You are ridiculous,

The Rangers weren't up there swinging at 3-0 pitches

They weren't trying to embarrass a minor league team.

They weren't stealing bases trying to run up the score they just took what they were given by Major league players.

For those of you saying they owe it to the fans to swing at 3-0 pitch, Absurd.

Don't play the game for the fans, play for love of the Game.

Real Fans appreciate the game played well and right.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.


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