The Baltimore Orioles haven't reached the Major League Baseball playoffs since 1997 and nowhere was their lack of experience on the big stage more glaring than in the visitor's dugout during Game 1 of the ALDS on Sunday night.
What happened there? It wasn't something the Orioles themselves did. Instead, two Maryland state troopers, part of the security force at Camden Yards, asked a pair of New York Yankees stars — Nick Swisher and Derek Jeter — for their autographs. During the ninth inning! The Yankees went on to beat the Orioles 7-2, but not before Jeter and Swisher were shaking their heads at the faux pas.
In a piece subtitled "Stupor Troopers," the New York Post dishes the details:
"Swish was livid,'' said a person who witnessed the stupid request.
Asked if that ever happened before, Jeter said, "What do you think?"
Law enforcement officials are no strangers to big league dugouts, but after last night's behavior it's likely the Yankees will attempt to have those two troopers removed from their dugout for tonight's Game 2.
Update: A spokesperson for the Maryland State Police has responded, the Baltimore Sun reports:
Greg Shipley ... said he could not confirm troopers had asked for autographs but said the MSP is investigating the claim and has "reacted as if it did happen."
Lt. Col. Andrew J. McAndrew, the MSP's field operations bureau chief, was at Monday night's game to remind troopers of their duties and to oversee their actions, Shipley said. Officers routinely provide security at Camden Yards, with an increased presence during important, highly attended games.
Shipley called McAndrew a "pretty high-powered person" for troopers to hear from directly, and said the message won't be missed.
This should satisfy the Yankees and set things right. No sense in making Nick Swisher mad again. He's usually smiling ear to ear, even when you know he couldn't possibly be happy. And this happened in the ninth? I hope this doesn't mean one of the troopers followed Jeter to the toilet since that's where he said he was during Russell Martin's big homer. That would be doubly inappropriate. Perhaps triply or quadruply. If there's one place players shouldn't be expected to sign autographs, it's in the dugout in the ninth inning. If there's a second place, it's the bathroom.
Besides, it's a big no-no for ballpark rank-and-file employees, be they security or beer vendors or media, to ask for autographs. It even says so on media passes: "NO AUTOGRAPHS." Exceptions are made occasionally — like after a game, or after a season, and only if the player and regular person are familiar with each other. It's possible the troopers weren't so thoroughly warned, but even though Camden Yards was hosting its first playoff game in 15 years, they should have known better regardless.
If the Orioles would just do better at making the playoffs — say, once every five years — this can be avoided in the future.
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