MLB: Nightengale: Machado not a punk, just lost his temper

11:51 p.m. EDT June 10, 2014   Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado is a 21-year-old who happened to have a temper tantrum in front of the baseball world.

It doesn't mean he's a punk.   He's not a disgrace to the game.   He's not a civic eyesore to the city of Baltimore.

MACHADO: Will appeal 5-game suspension

He just happens to be a fiery competitor with a passion for baseball who has never been so frustrated in his life.

And he chose an immature way to vent his anger.

Major League Baseball punished him Tuesday with a five-game suspension, wletting him know it's not cool to fling your bat in the air because you're in a lousy mood.

MACHADO ON SUSPENSION: 'We don't deserve this'

"I made my peace,'' Machado said Tuesday in said Tuesday, "and we're going to move on from it.''   And so should we.

In today's era where opponents hug one another before games, joke with each other during games, and dine together afterwards, Machado's rage was actually kind of refreshing.

Sure, no one is condoning a hitter recklessly throwing his bat, or a pitcher deliberately throwing at someone, either.

Still, it showed passion, just in an immature way.

And animus is a bit of a novelty these days.

When Nolan Ryan was inducted into the Hall of Fame on the same class as George Brett and Robin Yount, we understood when Ryan said he never bothered to get to know them. You're not supposed to mingle with the enemy.

Machado has made it clear that he doesn't like the Oakland A's, objecting to a hard tag by Josh Donaldson one game, going berserk after pitches were thrown toward his knees by reliever Fernando Abad a couple of days later.

The A's have let it be known their feelings toward Machado, too. When the Orioles come out to Oakland next month, you won't see catcher Derek Norris sharing appetizers with Machado at Jack London Square.

"What he's doing, it's a disgrace to baseball,'' Norris told reporters, "and I think it's sad to see someone of his talent and national recognition have things like that stain your career. I don't really understand it.''

Norris was livid that Machado's long swing twice clipped him in the mask, the second time knocking him out of the game.

Worse, Machado showed no remorse.

Machado revealed a different side these last two days, apologizing to the A's organization, and to teammates in a private meeting.

"I apologized to everyone and anyone,'' Machado said. "I didn't mean to do anything bad or anything, there was no intention. And when I see them again, I will get somebody and apologize.

"We are all grown men in here. That's something that I shouldn't have done, and now I have to deal with the consequences.

"We all make mistakes. I just let my emotions get the best of me."

And we are quick to forget that a 21-year-old has far more to juggle than baseball.

"I think we all have challenges along the way in life," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Manny has had a lot of things thrown at him, no pun intended, that he hasn't had in his life. So there are challenges that he's facing that he's going to deal with, we're going to help him deal with.

"I'm hoping, in the long run, it will make him stronger."

Yes, he's still a prodigy, and along with Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Yasiel Puig, represents the next wave of superstars.

He was an All-Star and finished in ninth in MVP voting in 2013, but everything changed the night of Sept. 23. Machado blew out his left knee running to first base, underwent reconstructive surgery, and has struggled regaining form since his May 1 return.

Machado, is hitting just .229. He has as many errors (seven) as extra-base hits. He doesn't resemble the guy who had a league-leading 53 doubles, 14 homers and 71 RBI a year ago.

It's easy to be a cool cat when everything goes your way, but recovering from adversity, now that's when you're truly judged.

We'll be watching.

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