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ALCS 2014: Jeremy Guthrie's shirt upset some Orioles fans; here's why

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We loved him. It turns out he just wasn't that into us.

Dave Reginek

I've been struck by writer's block these last five days or so, mostly I guess because it would hurt too much to talk about the actual games. I'm not writing off the series yet. The chance of a comeback is small, but it is still a chance. And until that chance is gone, this team is still in the ALCS with a shot to go to the World Series. But any Orioles fan reading this knows how hard it is to keep any kind of positive attitude after suffering three straight losses.

So I'm not going to talk about the games themselves, because I don't know what there is to say and I don't want to say it anyway. But I am for some reason compelled to say something about the shirt that Jeremy Guthrie wore last night. If you somehow missed it, it was on full display during last night's post-game press conference:

It's just a silly shirt, even if it is a play on words from noted domestic abuser Chris Brown, which makes it reprehensible enough. But it caused a lot tempers to flare here on Camden Chat and on Twitter, and I'd imagine a lot of other places. I saw over on Royals Review quite a different reaction as everyone called Guthrie awesome and amazing and the man, etc. I got to wondering if I'd be as exuberant if it were someone on my team wearing something similar, and I couldn't decide. Mostly because I can't even imagine a scenario where anyone on the current Orioles team would publicly wear something that disparaged another team. I can't imagine Buck Showalter allowing that to happen.

But regardless, for anyone wondering why Orioles fans were so hurt by this shirt, it's because it was Guthrie who wore it. If it had been someone else on the team we would have complained, sure, but we have always loved Jeremy Guthrie, and at least some of us thought that he was also fond of us.

Guthrie was a treasure to Orioles fans in his time here. When he was taken off of waivers from the Indians in 2007, he had the kind of story that many people could relate to. People had high expectations of him but he couldn't get things to work out, and the Indians ran out of patience when he ran out of options. So the Orioles brought him over and gave him a chance, and he rewarded us all. Sure, he wasn't Greg Maddux, but he was a good, solid baseball player in an era when the Orioles fans had little to root for. More than that, he was a loveable human. We cared about him and he cared about the city and the fans. If he didn't enjoy his time here, no one would have ever known.

While in Baltimore, Guthrie wore number 46, same as the late Mike Flanagan. After Flanny passed away, Guthrie had a number of lovely and poignant things to say about him both on Twitter and through the press. It seemed appropriate that such a classy gentleman, a player so loved by fans, carried on with Flanagan's number.

When it became clear that the Royals were probably going to make the playoffs, the overwhelming attitude here on Camden Chat was one of happiness specifically for Jeremy Guthrie. After so many years he was getting to play on a good team and had a chance to pitch in the postseason. If you go back through the comments from before last night, it's person after person wishing him well.

I don't blame Guthrie if he has little love for the Orioles ball club has a whole. They traded him away, after all, and we have no idea of what happened behind closed doors. But even after he left he continued to interact with O's fans on Twitter and cheer on the Orioles when they started playing well. He even thanked us when we named him the 37th greatest Oriole over the off season.

So when he walked out in that shirt, it was like a punch to the gut. All we wanted to do was be happy for him, and there he was mocking the team that we love. I guess we expected him to still feel a connection to us, but he doesn't. He's moved on, and that's OK. I just wish he could have happiness with his new team without making the Orioles fans feel even worse than we already do.

Guthrie, to his credit, tweeted out an apology once he realized the aftermath of his decision. I'll forgive him for a lapse in judgement, but it still hurts.

Before this series started, I thought about how, if the Royals beat the Orioles, I'd probably write something about Guthrie and how I wish him success and how I'll be rooting him on. But I probably won't be doing that now.

UPDATE

Based on an article from Steve Melewski at MASN Sports, Jeremy Guthrie asked reporters to come to the interview room to again apologize for the shirt he wore last night. Apparently we were not the only ones offended by the shirt, as Guthrie also heard from some of his friends who are still playing for the Orioles.

Guthrie still doesn't see why the shirt upset people so much, which is a little troublesome, but his remorse appears to be very sincere. The shirt was sent to him by a fan and he exercised poor judgement in wearing it. He also alluded to the fact that he wasn't aware that the quote came from a Chris Brown song, and on that I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I didn't know that either until someone told me. I do my best to avoid all things having to do with Chris Brown. It is true that Guthrie tweeted out that quote back on October 3rd, so presumably that's where the fan who sent it got the idea.