The Orioles never thought the punishment fit the crime, or rather, they always thought David Ortiz and the Red Sox should have received more punishment than Kevin Gregg for their on-field altercation (though neither player connected on a punch) at Fenway before the All-Star break.
But both combatants will start serving a reduced three-game suspension starting tonight. The league really wanted it this way. They wanted to keep Ortiz and Gregg away from each other. It's obviously a tough tradeoff for the Red Sox - losing a power hitting DH over a reliever. But the Orioles feel they've lost a key piece of their bullpen for three days.
Asked about the fairness of the penalties, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said "I'm a little biased on the fair side of it. There's a lot of thought process that goes into it that I'm not aware of, so it is what it is and we'll deal with it."
Showalter didn't seem interested in getting into any retaliation, but who knows?
"We're going to play a game and they're a very good team. We'll deal with things as they come. The most immediate thing is the competitive part of it and hoping that Vladdy gets back into it. Tim Wakefield and the Boston Red Sox are enough of a challenge without creating something like that. You deal with situations as they come."
Asked whether it creates pride to "stand up" to an organization like the Red Sox or the Yankees, Showalter said, "How you stand up, is you win. They're real good (referring to the Yankees and Red Sox) and so is Tampa., Tampa has won this division two of the last three years. A lot of stuff plays short term but long term you have to play better. Play better. Practice harder.
"It's not something to handicap before hand. Nobody really cares. Those are things that sound good on the surface, but play better. They're very good for a long period of time. They have good players regardless of how and why and what-have-you. Play better.
"Nobody cares about injuries. Nobody cares about what time you got in in the morning. It's the big leagues. Everybody has 10 hard tales about traveling, or injuries or what ever. It's part of the job description. Suck it up," Showalter said.
Showalter said he was going to have Gregg do a side session tomorrow and said, "I think that's permissible."