Manny Machado: The New Red Sox Villain

Since Alex Rodriguez’s career collapsed like the Atlanta Falcons, there has not really Red Sox villainbeen a bonafide Red Sox villain—that is, until last weekend. By now, almost every baseball fan is aware of the situation involving the Red Sox and Orioles; specifically Manny Machado.

History

Whether or not his slide was dirty is now beyond the current state of affairs. At this point, it’s all about baseball’s unwritten rules surrounding things like hit batsmen, home run trots, and team retaliation.

Matt Barnes tried to retaliate and failed, ultimately getting suspended. His attempt to bean Machado in the head actually hit the bat. Then, of course, Machado decides to pimp every home run he hits against the Sox now, which I guess is well deserved. Betts also got beaned on a pitch by Dylan Bundy on Monday.

Needless to say there have been lots of fireworks lately, but nothing compared to what occurred Tuesday night. Moments after the Fenway crowd respectfully recognized Adam Jones, Chris Sale threw behind Manny Machado. This prompted warnings to both sides. It also prompted Manny Machado to exchange choice words with both the Red Sox dugout and the home plate umpire. However, the slugger did take Sale yard only to combine it with a pair of three K’s. Now, he seems to be the subject of every local sports talk show and a chorus of boos.

So he’s the new Red Sox villain, right? I believe so.

One does not simply go on a post-game profanity laden tirade and not be a villain. Especially when he claims to lose all respect for your organization. Secondly, when he takes his sweet old time rounding the bases twice consecutively and has a history of such behavior, why wouldn’t he be the new Joker to the Red Sox Batman?

This Red Sox team needed a spark. Now, Machado has given the Sox the extra incentive to beat up on the current first place team. We shall see how the next meeting goes.

Is a Boston-Baltimore Rivalry Legit?

This week could bring plenty of fireworks to Fenway Park when the Baltimore Orioles strut into town. With all the drama caused by Manny Machado and Matt Barnes last series, suddenly this matchup is a heated one. Is it fair to say there is now a Boston-Baltimore rivalry, though?

Never in my life have I thought of the Baltimore Orioles as a rival. This reminds me a lot of Boston-Baltimore RivalryDuke vs. Maryland in basketball. Trust me, it’ll make sense. Duke’s major rival is North Carolina but they were always the biggest game on Maryland’s schedule, so they were treated as a rival. Orioles fans definitely get up for Red Sox series, but it isn’t Red Sox-Yankees.

When I heard Jerry Remy talk about how these teams had a mutual distaste, I was shocked. I mean, Manny Machado has had his disputes, but the Orioles don’t exactly have the villains. There’s no A-Rod or Johnny Damon or even someone like a Jorge Posada. But, apparently, there is hatred between the players.

Even though these two clubs have been in the same division for years, the lack of animosity is simple. First off, these teams have seldom been competitive at the same time. When one team is up, the other is usually down. Without high leverage games, it’s tough to keep an entertaining rivalry in baseball.

Why Isn’t There a Boston-Baltimore Rivalry?

Also, Baltimore is just a blip on the baseball map. We are used to Boston and New York as the epicenters of the game. That is not the case in Baltimore. They have a respectable fan base, a nice team and a nice ballpark. There’s nothing special about Baltimore in the world of baseball. Even with the run of success they had for nearly two decades between the 1960s and 1980s where they won five World Series titles, Baltimore doesn’t scream baseball history.

At the end of the day, Baltimore is a football town and the unequivocal hotbed of lacrosse. When you think of Baltimore, you don’t think baseball. Putting that against a titan of the sport like Boston and the Red Sox organization, it’s not a fair fight. Red Sox fans who remember a time before 2013 know it wasn’t long ago when Sox fans outnumbered Orioles supporters tenfold at Camden Yards.

A supposed AL East rivalry between the Orioles and the Red Sox leaves me with more questions than answers. Where’s the history? Who are the villains? Why isn’t Boston-Toronto a rivalry? Ok, that last one is a blog for another time. This series could certainly get the blood boiling again and could start a rivalry. For now, Red Sox fans can label the Orioles with the same moniker Duke has put on Maryland for years, the most disrespectful insult in sports: “not our rivals.”