The Baltimore Orioles have long been a glorified punching bag to their AL East rivals, routinely getting their asses handed to them by teams like the Yankees and Red Sox. Some of that frustration boiled over last night in a benches clearing brawl with the Red Sox, one that saw iconic slugger David Ortiz charge the mound and throw wayward punches at Orioles relief pitcher Kevin Gregg.
Fights happen in sports all the time, but what made this particular altercation so enticing were words spoken post-game. Shedding light on an elephant that has been in the room for quite some time, Gregg remarked “we’re not scared of them — them and their $180 million payroll.”
This hit particularly close to home for me, being a fan of a small-market team like the Orioles (I’m an Indians fan) is an exercise in frustration. The disparity between the haves and have-nots in baseball is nearly insulting. Professional baseball operates under a flawed, broken system, one that allows the Yankees and Red Sox of the world to buy any talent they want with no repercussions.
Gregg seems fully aware of the competitive disadvantages, and chose to address the situation head-on. The more the Red Sox parade around the country like the world wants them to win, which they so blatantly do, the more we need people like Gregg to call them out. It might not make a difference in the standings, but both the team and their insufferable fan base need to be told to “shut the hell up.”