So quickly, lets do a short timeline of all the events that happened in the past two weeks.
Where it all starts. Machado took a very risky slide into second base while Dustin Pedroia was there trying to turn a double play. Machado’s slide led him to hit Pedroia’s lower body and seemingly hurt, but not injure, him. I do not think this was intentional, however I do think it was a dangerous slide.
Matt Barnes, Sox relief pitcher, decides to take matters into his own hands. He threw at Machado’s head, which I do not advocate for, and was promptly ejected from the game and suspended 4 games by the MLB.
After the series ends in Baltimore and a new one starts in Boston, the Orioles decided to even the score a bit. Mookie Betts was hit by a pitch thrown by O’s pitcher Dylan Bundy. Bundy was not ejected and there were no retaliations by the Sox in this game.
Machado was thrown at again this day, this time by Sox pitcher Chris Sale. The throw was behind Manny’s legs and was pretty obvious Sale was trying to intimidate him. Both teams were given a warning for this incident, and Sale was not ejected from the game. Machado proceeded to go on an expletive rant about how he has lost all his respect for the Red Sox organization.
Here’s why I think this is good for baseball (besides the whole headhunting part): it provides the fire the league needs. Baseball used to be America’s favorite sport, and now all it’s talked about is how slow the pace of game is. People want to watch something exciting and entertaining. And what provides that? A nice feud between two teams. Of course we don’t need hitters thrown at or base runners taking out the legs of an infielder. But the fire between these two teams is fantastic, some bad blood makes for some good baseball. It’s something fresh, instead of everybody being all buddy and friendly with each other we now have two teams that HATE each other (for their respective reasons). I think that’s what people want to see. They want to see intensity and fire, true passion for winning and being better than your opponent. You shouldn’t like your opponent, you should want to crush them. Baseball may be ‘boring’ because it lacks the grit that other sports have, such as football, but a feud could easily fix that. You don’t have to hit a batter every single game; just bring intensity. You know this is your enemy now,so you’ll go as hard as you can to try and win every game you play against them. Pace of play won’t be an issue as long as the games provide entertainment. A rivalry between two divisional foes should provide some great baseball and I for one am excited for the next Red Sox-Orioles series.