Wednesday, June 11, 2014

"The first to apologize is the strongest. The first to forget is the happiest."

Probably because I began getting things wrong at a very early age, I learned as a child that it's always easier to own up to a mistake, apologize, and move on.  For one reason, it's the right thing to do. For another, it ends most of the commotion, because others can't keep poundin' on ya when you're standing there saying, "I'm sorry, already!"

And the best reason of all: most people are so staggered when you apologize and take the foul, they sputter and stammer and yak and yammer while you walk on with the rest of your life.

So I was glad that a couple of people in the sports world either took it on themselves, or someone wise got to them, and made appropriate niceness after public missteps.
What started it all
It started last Friday when Manny Machado, whiz kid third baseman for the Orioles, got all worked up when opposing third baseman Josh Donaldson tagged him out with what Manny considered to be a little too much ooooooomph.  Manny lost his balance in more ways than one, going after Donaldson after getting back to his feet. That set the tone for the three games between the Baltimores and the Oaklands, with players on both teams being hit by pitches and rough slides and tags. In Sunday afternoon's game, Manny, accidentally or not, clomped the A's catcher on the helmeted head with the backswing of his bat.  By the time the game was almost over, with Oakland ahead by a ton of runs, the A's brought in a relief pitcher who first threw a pitch behind Manny ("just a bit off the plate") and then one that hit him.  Manny let go of his bat, intentionally or otherwise, and his temper  The situation devolved into one of those baseball fights in which 50 men, plus coaches and the guy who sells hot dogs in the box seats, push each other around in an eddying mob.  No punches are usually thrown in a baseball fight, but they do let the benchwarmers get out and get a little fresh air and sunshine, so no problem.

On Monday, before the game, Manny said, "I want to apologize to all my teammates, my coaching staff, the Orioles organization and Oakland, and the fans also, for the way I acted and overreacted on that. It was a frustrating weekend, and I just let my emotions get the best of me."

What more is there to say, after he says he's sorry?

And then, on Saturday, as California Chrome went for the Triple Crown of horse racing, he finished out of the money, leading his 1/2 owner, Steve Coburn, to do a Yosemite Sam impersonation and get all red faced and hoarse, hollering about his horse, and how the other horses who didn't run in the other races had an unfair advantage, and on and on until he also seemed to be the south end of a horse headed north.

Just about to lose it
He even turned and shushed his wife in public, which violates rule 1 through 1 million of how to stay married.

He acted a fool, and he stayed that way Sunday when interviewed again, but on Monday, talking to Robin Roberts on Good Morning, America, he was singing Manny's tune: “First of all, I need to apologize to the winners. They ran a beautiful race. Their horse won the race. They deserve that. I did not mean to take anything away from them. I want to apologize to everyone associated with Tonalist.”

Coburn explained that he got "carried away" when his horse lost at Belmont.

“I wanted so much for this horse to win the Triple Crown, for the people of America, and I was very emotional, very emotional.”

“(Tonalist) won the race fair and square. He deserved to win,” Coburn said. “I need to apologize to the world and America, our fans, who have written us, given us so much support, I apologize, I sincerely apologize,” he concluded.

Manny Machado is a fan favorite here in Baltimore, just 21, and who among us did not pop off with somethin' stoopid at that age? So we're glad he manned up (Mannyed up?) and we're moving on.

Steve Coburn is 61, but in his defense, none of us knew him from a set of racing silks six weeks ago.  The time he's spent in the national spotlight was pretty intense this spring, and since it was his first time with all those cameras and reporters all up in his grill, you can't blame him for spitting the bit once.

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