No one seems to understand why the drama between the Red Sox and Orioles is still ongoing, but it’s well past time for the Sox to cut the shit.
It’s been almost two weeks since Manny Machado clipped Dustin Pedroia’s calf while executing a perfectly normal slide into second base, and the Red Sox already got their revenge by throwing behind Machado’s head the next day. This was a standard dumb baseball beef, and the loop should already be closed.
But then last night Sox ace Chris Sale threw a fastball behind Machado, a stupid reaction to ... what exactly? The slide? Are these red-asses still mad about the damn slide? Or maybe this time Sale was punishing Machado for having admired a home run on Monday night. Does everything make the Red Sox mad?
Machado responded by hitting one out of the park off Sale, but based on his profanity-laced tirade after the game, he’s fed up with the intermittent vindictiveness over a slide into second that happened a week and a half ago.
Everyone but various members of the Red Sox are tired of this beef, too. Sale and Eduardo Rodriguez and especially Matt Barnes have been so petty as to make this issue one-sided. Machado’s bad slide took out Pedroia for a few games, but Pedroia isn’t even mad about it anymore. He apologized to Machado from the dugout after Barnes threw at him, and said publicly that the situation was mishandled.
And yet Machado is somehow still taking shit for it, and Sale reignited this dumb issue on a night that could have gone a long way towards resolving the tension between the division rivals.
The Sox took accountability yesterday for the racism Adam Jones endured on Monday night when a fan threw peanuts at him and called him a racial slur. Team president Sam Kennedy issued an apology, Sox players told Kennedy they’d been subject to slurs at their own ballpark, and Mookie Betts tweeted in support of Jones.
Red Sox fans did what they could in cheering Adam Jones as he stepped up to the plate in the first inning, and Sale even stepped off the mound to allow the applause to continue. And then he refused to quit while he was ahead:
What exactly is going on here? Is John Farrell not telling his players in explicit terms to leave the Orioles alone? If he has, why did Sale break rank? Whatever the reason, it’s not going to do much to smooth over Sale’s reputation as a doltish hothead.
Machado pointed out after the game that he can’t really get retribution for the attempts to throw behind him and at his head, and he made his point forcefully:
Pitchers out there with fucking balls in their hands, throwing 100 mph trying to hit people. And I’ve fucking got a bat too. I could go out there and crush somebody if I wanted to. But you know what, I’d get suspended for a year and the pitcher only gets suspended for two games. That’s not cool.
Pitchers do have an inherent advantage in these situations, and can more or less get away with being dangerous assholes while a batter’s only option is to pull a Carlos Quentin and risk serious punishment along with further damage to himself. How long is Machado expected to play while knowing that every at-bat brings with it a good chance he’s going to be thrown at?
The Sox and Orioles will play again tonight and tomorrow, and it’s clear that Machado is well past his breaking point. If the Red Sox can’t figure out how to calm down and stop throwing at him, things are going to get very ugly.