One night after finding itself at the center of the sports world's attention because of a bunch of assholes, Fenway Park once again in the spotlight. It wasn't the assholes in the stands causing the problem this time but the assholes on the field when, for some reason, the Boston Red Sox' newly hired ace Chris Sale decided to throw at Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado.
The necessary background for even trying to understand this story is that nearly two weeks ago, Machado spiked Fenway garden gnome Dustin Pedroia. It was a bad, reckless slide from Machado, but it was clearly not intentional, and he was immediately apologetic to Pedroia. For his part, the Red Sox second baseman didn't blame Machado at all, saying "It's baseball, man," and even blamed himself for being out of position. Which made it all the stranger when Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes threw at Machado's head the next day. So strange, in fact, that Pedroia himself called out his teammate after the game, and apologized to Machado.
"I just told him I didn't have anything to do with that," Pedroia said. "That's not how you do that, man. I'm sorry to him and his team. If you're going to protect guys, you do it right away. "
Let's set aside for a moment the notion of "the right way" to retaliate against a player for an accidental play that all parties involved considered accidental, and focus on why in the everloving fuck we are still talking about Manny Machado and the Boston Red Sox. If Pedroia hadn't squashed the whole thing with his comments immediately after the slide, he certainly did after Barnes went rogue, and yet, here's Chris Sale extending this wholly unnecessary feud into Day 12.
Because baseball is very often the dumbest of all sports, Sale was most likely sending Machado a message because he took a long time running the bases after he smoked a home run off Rick Porcello on Monday. Do you feel dumber for having read that sentence? I feel dumber for having written it.
When you are a stats guy.
To recap: The Boston Red Sox (excluding Dustin Pedroia), angry that Manny Machado accidentally hurt Pedroia, tried to retaliate by throwing a fastball at his head. Pedroia said it was bullshit. A week later, on Monday—the same night Adam Jones was called the N-word by more people than he can count, by the way—Machado hit a home run off Rick Porcello and slowly rounded the bases. So, the following night, Chris Sale threw at Machado again. That is really what happened, how we got from point A to point B.
The only silver lining here is that Boston has failed miserably in attempting to school Machado. Barnes did not hit him. Nor did Sale. But Machado sure hit the shit out of him. Two attempted beanings have netted the Red Sox two mashed taters.
Following the game, Machado was rightly pissed and went on a tirade that was 75 percent "fuck" or "fucking" or "bullshit" and 25 percent "I lost all respect for that organization." The rest of the league should follow suit because, honestly, how can you respect a team that can't even enforce baseball's unwritten rules properly?