Tuesday night’s divisional matchup between the Orioles and the Red Sox was nothing short of strange. Boston’s crowd gave Adam Jones a standing ovation, including some of Boston’s players, with him nodding back in approval. All of these warm, friendly feelings in Fenway didn’t last long, come next batter, there all gone. Machado was thrown at for the second time in 3 days.
Last weekend, things got dicey in Baltimore, as Manny Machado committed a borderline dirty slide on Pedroia, but I’ll get further into that a little later.
Many in the O’s organization claim to have not seen the slide, and downplayed the incident, most noticeably Buck Showalter. Showalter is a manager that will never stick up for the opponent, especially not the Red Sox.
Showalter has a habit of chirping at the Red Sox, whether it’s about their payroll advantages, or about the flu “plague” the O’s caught in early April in Boston, or even from his time as Yankees’ skipper. This weekend, as you may have heard, there was plenty to chirp about. The biggest controversy played out over the full series when last week, an aggressive, almost reckless slide by Orioles superstar Manny Machado, spiking the side of Pedroia’s left knee, the one he had arthroscopic surgery on, and knocking him out of the game. The Red Sox didn’t retaliate the next day with knuckleballer Steven Wright on the mound but instead waited until the season finale, when hard-throwing Matt Barnes threw a fastball behind Machado’s head.
Then it got weird. As the umpires were sorting it all out, a camera caught Pedroia telling Machado that throwing at him wasn’t his idea and he would have preferred to have done it in Machado’s first at-bat Saturday, which is the normal protocol in situations like these.
There’s a lot of stupid involved with this entire scenario. Baseball’s unwritten-rules’ culture of “payback,’’ the idea that throwing at anyone’s head is ever a good idea, and Barnes and/or John Farrell’s attempt to hit Machado two games after the initial incident. But nothing was quite as odd as seeing Pedroia going against his teammates, to an opponent – one who, intentionally or not, had injured him – in the middle of a tense inning.
Yes, the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry will always live forever but, with the little that’s left (right now) of the hatred between the two for the past century, Boston’s new enemy is not in New York, it’s in Baltimore