On Wednesday night, Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis took issue with something said by first-year manager Brandon Hyde. The disagreement was such that cameras caught Davis pursuing Hyde in an aggressive manner within Baltimore’s dugout. Thankfully, members of the Orioles’ coaching staff intervened before Davis could get to Hyde.
Nearly two days have passed, and while we still don’t know what exactly Hyde said, we have gained some insight into the whole mess.
In discussing the incident on Friday, Davis focused on a poor defensive play from the previous half-inning, nothing that his frustration had been bubbling (per Zach Silver of MLB.com):
What actually happened was, the inning before defense for me was really the reason I was so frustrated. I missed a pick. Wasn’t an easy play, wasn’t a particularly hard play, and a couple of pitches later I think they hit a two-run home run that took it from a 4-1 game to a 6-1 game. For me, that was really king of the breaking point. I think it’s pretty obvious the offensive struggles I’ve had for quite some time. I feel like night in and night out I’ve still done a really good job of being there on defense and trying to pick guys up, and for me in that spot in the game, in that point in the series, like I said I hit a breaking point. It’s going to happen. It’s going to happen when you have that much frustration when you’re constantly having to deal with failure. You’re going to have episodes where you have to let it out unfortunately. It was in the dugout, I wish it hadn’t been, I wish it had been underneath. But it happened and I can’t go back and change that. Brandon and I have talked. I knew right after it happened that we were going to be fine, it was just one of those things, and we are. Like I said, it happens over a course of a season. You know with a young team going into the season all the challenges you are going to face, all the things you are going to overcome. You know there are going to be nights where it’s frustrating, and really, for me, that’s what happened. It all boiled over and it wasn’t just from that play. For me, it’s been for the last couple of weeks.
Davis’s comments make sense on a certain level. His offensive struggles over the past two seasons — he entered Friday with a 51 OPS+ since Opening Day 2018 — have been well-covered. It stands to reason he’s had to find a way to cope with his issues at the plate. Taking greater pride in his defense would be an obvious way to do so. The catch is that any error with the leather would then feel like a huge failing … to the point where he might react emotionally to a slight, perceived or otherwise.
Hyde dropped his two cents on Friday as well. Though he didn’t repeat his exact words from Wednesday, he did say it had to do with how Davis was handling his frustration:
There’s no excuse for Davis’s reaction — especially if Hyde just told him to cut it out, or act his age, or whatever — but you can understand how this kind of thing happens. Here’s hoping that Davis can learn from this and do a better job of keeping a peaceful mind. Lord knows he deserves at least that after the year-plus he’s had at the dish.