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Baseball - Manny Machado v. Red Sox (Baltimore Sun)

Baseball – Manny Machado v. Red Sox (Baltimore Sun)

In a sense, baseball and the players police themselves, but what are the unwritten rules of baseball and why is it up to the players to enforce these rules?

As far as the unwritten rules go: You don’t go sliding into a base with your spikes up, and you don’t throw at somebody’s head or behind someone. These two unwritten rules of baseball were on full display over these past few weeks during the Baltimore Orioles / Boston Red Sox series.

In case you’ve been living under a baseball rock, or are still in hockey or basketball mode, here’s the break down:

A couple of weeks ago during a game between the Orioles and Red Sox, Manny Machado went sliding into second base, as there was a play at the base where Dustin Pedroia would wind up catching the baseball. Machado’s foot caught the front of the base and inadvertently popped up and his spikes caught Pedroia in the leg, rendering him injured. He was unable to play for about a week.

In the aftermath of the game, Pedroia wasn’t upset with the extent of the play by Machado but he was upset his team lost the game, “My job is to get taken out and hang in there and turn double plays. That’s how you win games. I’m not mad. I’m mad we lost the game. We didn’t score any runs. That’s what I’m mad about.” He also added that he knows a thing or two about turning a double play, “I’ve turned the best double play in the major leagues for 11 years, I don’t need the (expletive) rule, let’s be honest. The rule is irrelevant. The rule is for people with bad footwork, and that’s it.” ( Jen McCaffrey)

Honestly, I love that attitude from Dustin Pedroia. That’s a guy who truly gets it, who truly understands the only way to play the game and play the game well is to play it hard. Clearly though, his teammates didn’t get the memo that DP was cool with Machado’s accidental slide because they tried to take it into their own hands.

The first crack at Machado came the next day when Eduardo Rodriguez threw four straight balls towards the quad/ankle region of Machado. When Rodriguez threw and missed, reliever Matt Barnes thought he’d take his shot at redemption. Needless to say, things didn’t go as planned for the hard throwing Connecticut native. Barnes unleashed a fastball up near the head region and that is a HUGE no-no in terms of baseball rules: never head hunt.

Now, I’m sure Barnes wasn’t aiming for Machado’s head and it was just a fastball that got away from him, but either way he was clearly trying to hit him. After that incident Pedroia was seen in the dugout having a distant conversation with the Orioles third baseman saying something along the lines of, “It wasn’t me” and, “I didn’t tell them to do that.”

As if the story ended there. In the most recent match-up between these two teams it was Chris Sale who took his shot at the slugger. He uncorked a mid-nineties fastball behind his back, yet again alluding the body of Machado. Tempers flared and then Sale set him down on strikes. However, Machado got his revenge later in the game when he hit a towering home run off Sale that cleared the iconic Green Monster. He proceeded to take about, what felt like, a ten-minute trout around the iconic Fenway Park bases.

Moral of the story? There is a right way and a wrong way to police the game of baseball. I’m very okay with a pitcher protecting a teammate who’s been spiked or thrown at, in the right situation of course.

However, as a player you have to pay attention. If your teammate is cool with the accidental slide, don’t try to be a hero and take things into your own hands. All you need to do is continue to be a competitor and play the game hard. And oh yeah, it’s generally not a good thing if you get one of the best hitters in the game amped up, pissed off and motivated to really try to beat you even more than he usually does. I doubt this story will fade as the season continues and I’m intrigued as to where this saga goes next.

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Greg is a Staff Writer here at, covering a variety of topics.
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