Oates' explosion more than tantrum

KEN ROSENTHAL

September 07, 1993|By KEN ROSENTHAL

Get him out of here. Isn't that what Johnny Oates said? Oh, not exactly. "Somebody better get this ------------ out of here," Oates screamed 75 minutes before last night's game.

This who?

Oh, of course.

Glenn Davis.

Team guy that he is, Gentle Glenn asked Oates why he wasn't in the lineup last night after first baseman David Segui was scratched with an injured toe.

Oates, uh, flipped.

The exchange took place in Oates' office. The two called each other "--------------" liars. And then Oates stormed into the clubhouse, so angry it looked like his head was about to explode.

Face reddening.

Veins bulging.

The whole bit.

"This is the last thing we need right now!" Oates screamed. "Sut, you better get him out of here!"

Sut?

4 And we all thought Rick Sutcliffe was a pitcher.

Now, he's the team bouncer.

Hmmmm, maybe Club Rogue -- that noted Virginia Beach hot spot -- can hire him to replace the guy who broke Davis' jaw.

Anyway, the result of all this was your usual miscarriage of justice -- the media got thrown out of the clubhouse, and Davis got to stay with the team.

The New York Mets would have been proud.

"Everyone was upset. Glenn was upset. Johnny was reset," Roland "The Spin Doctor" Hemond said after emerging from a 45-meeting with Oates and Davis. "They've discussed it. Things are OK now."

Just peachy, Roland.

Now write that pink slip.

Here's a guy who hasn't played since May 23, and he wants to know why he's not in the lineup in the middle of a pennant race.

Let's see, which is more important?

A) Davis' return from the disabled list.

B) A seven-game winning streak.

Hard to believe, but Oates chose "B."

That's why he replaced Segui with the hot-hitting Mike Pagliarulo -- even though the Orioles were facing a left-hander, even though Pags is normally a third baseman.

The logic was just too much for Glenn.

Obviously, Davis was stupid to question Oates. But how smart are the Orioles, keeping a player who is an obvious cancer, a player they never should have been activated in the first place?

Davis already has picked their pockets for about $10 million. He gets the balance of his contract either way. But apparently, Hemond is counting on him to step to the plate and hit a big September home run.

Over Oates' dead body.

Anyone who has ever questioned Oates' intensity should have witnessed his eruption last night. Oates obviously can't stand Davis, who probably is the most selfish player he has ever encountered.

Remember April of '92, when Oates slammed his office door on reporters who were inquiring about the latest conflicting medical diagnoses on Davis?

It was the greatest temper tantrum in baseball history by a manager whose team was 1-0.

And no, it wasn't the media's fault.

Now, some 300 games later, Oates is still stuck with this $3.8 million albatross. Hemond claimed that Oates did not demand that Davis be released. But why should Oates even have to ask?

It's a gutless front office that won't stand behind its manager after such an incident, especially in the middle of a pennant race. Davis has been a disruptive influence for three years now -- and we're not just talking about his injuries.

He resisted his first rehabilitation assignment this season until the Orioles guaranteed he'd be recalled after 20 games. It took a meeting in New York with club officials, his agent and his wife to get that one settled.

Most recently, he resisted another rehabilitation assignment after a mere three-month layoff. But once again, Davis accepted his cruel fate, figuring the Orioles would be eternally grateful for his "sacrifice."

Actually, they are, for the sake of Double-A Bowie. Davis hit a game-winning homer for Bowie on Saturday night. Good, maybe he can help the Baysox in the Eastern League playoffs.

In a sense, the Davis saga is completely irrelevant to the Orioles' pennant chances. But when the manager turns into a raving lunatic, it's time to act.

"Somebody get this ------------ out of here," Johnny Oates said.

Somebody do it now.

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