Red Sox pitcher Matt Barnes earned an easy ejection Sunday for throwing at Baltimore Orioles’ third baseman Manny Machado as Pedroia pleaded his innocence from the dugout.
For those new to the latest Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox dispute involving third baseman Manny Machado and second baseman Dustin Pedroia, here’s an overview before we move on to today’s latest retaliation.
Friday night, Red Sox manager John Farrell called out Machado during his postgame interview for his hard slide that injured Pedroia in the series opener. Farrell’s postgame comments caused the Boston media to target Machado as the bad guy, which was most likely Farrell’s intentions.
Here’s a clip of Machado’s slide Friday night that caused a frenzy in Boston:
You be the judge on this one. For me, the spike doesn’t look intentional nor does there seem to be any bad intentions from Machado, who immediately came off the bag to try and catch Pedroia, preventing a hard landing.
During postgame interviews Friday night, Machado voiced his thoughts on the slide to BaltimoreBaseball.com’s Paul Folkemer:
"It wasn’t intentional. I was trying to get on the bag. If you see the replay, you see how my body comes off the bag and hits him right in the path.I don’t wish bad upon nobody. I don’t want to go out there and hurt someone. I know what it is to be in that position. We’re just trying to hustle and play for our team and do what we’ve got to do."
Folkemer added that Machado shared his concern and sympathy to Pedroia via text message as the two left the conversation on good terms.
However, that didn’t stop the agitated Farrell as he continued to plead his case to the MLB on Machado’s “late” slide.
Despite Machado and Pedroia dealing with the situation off the field and working it out as they should, Farrell still wasn’t satisfied, airing out his theory that Machado broke the sliding rule by Major League Baseball. He even went as far as contacting chief baseball officer of MLB Joe Torre, begging for why Machado’s slide should be judged illegal.
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Notwithstanding the effort from Farrell, Torre didn’t see eye to eye on this particular incident. Torre replied with this statement per Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe:
"I completely understand John’s viewpoint with a key player getting hurt, but the rule is very specific that the fielder has to be trying to turn the double play and that wasn’t the case in this situation."
So after all of this, Farrell still wasn’t satisfied with the outcome of Machado’s slide that kept his star player out of Saturday and Sunday’s game. As a result, Farrell took matters into his own hands, even with Machado and Pedroia, who peacefully and maturely resolved the misunderstanding and bad blood off the field like adults.
Instead of retaliating the following day, Farrell waited until his team had a commanding lead in the eighth inning of the series finale Sunday to get their revenge on Machado.
So, in the eighth inning Sunday, Farrell inserted pitcher Matt Barnes into the game to face Machado. On the first pitch, Barnes hurled a 90-mph pitch that zipped by Machado’s head.
As you can see in the video, the ball came so close to hitting Machado’s head that it ricocheted off his bat, technically making it a foul ball. Nonetheless, Barnes was ejected and declared that his pitch to Machado just got away and apologized for the incident, per BaltimoreBaseball.com’s Dan Connolly.
However, after the pitch, a compelling conversation unfolded between Machado and Pedroia.
Immediately after the altercation, Pedroia barked from the dugout at Machado explaining that he had no part of the retaliation making it obvious that Farrell went behind Pedroia’s back and planned a retaliation on Machado.
Pedroia’s complete thoughts:
Pedroia showed class Sunday and set a prime example of how to handle a situation in a respectful manner. On the other hand, the Red Sox (excluding Pedroia) set a perfect example of how to NOT resolve a disagreement.
If you’re going to throw at someone, don’t potentially harm a career and life by aiming a 90-mph fastball at the head of a defenseless batter.