The 2017 baseball season is officially underway as we had our very first star vs. star bean ball mess. Deciding when, where and how to throw at a batter is a tense and scintillating aspect of the game. Everybody knows it's coming, but nobody can predict the moment.
On Friday, Manny Machado slid into second base, injuring Red Sox veteran shortstop Dustin Pedroia. Of course, Boston fans labeled Machado a dirty player.
Manny Machado is a dirty player. pic.twitter.com/xrpU67PfFY— Boston Strong (@BostonStrong_34) April 22, 2017
Red Sox manager John Farrell wasn’t feeling the slide either.
"If the rule is in place to protect the middle infielder, then it didn't work tonight," Farrell said on MLB Network. "It was a late slide."
Pedroia wasn’t as upset and he didn’t feel it was malicious.
"I've turned double plays in the big leagues for 11 years," he said. "It's my job, and it's not the first time I've been hit and it won't be the last. It's baseball, man."
On Sunday, Red Sox pitcher Matt Barnes threw behind Machado’s head in the eighth-inning and the ball hit off his bat. Barnes was ejected immediately.
Machado answered with a double. That's how you do it in the Bigs.
Pedroia, who has not played since injuring his left leg on the slide, was seen passionately screaming something at Machado from the dugout. Machado seemed to ignore him and there was some confusion as to whether or not Pedroia was angry.
Turns out that Pedroia was letting Machado know that he was not in favor of his teammates throwing above Machado’s shoulders.
“I just told him [Machado] I had nothing to do with that,” Pedroia said. “I just told him that’s not how you do that. I said sorry to him and his team. If you’re going to protect guys, you do it the right away. And he knows that and both teams know that, so it was definitely a mishandled situation.
“There was zero chance that [Machado] was trying to hurt me. He just made a bad slide and he did hurt me. That’s just baseball, man. I’m not mad at him. I love Manny Machado. I love playing against him. I love watching him. If I slid into third base and got Manny’s knee, I’d know I’m going to get drilled. It’s baseball. I get drilled, I go to first base. That’s it,” Pedroia said.
Pedroia was tossing his teammates under the bus, despite the fact that they were defending him. He's a by-the-book player though and he was breaking down a little baseball 101. He feels that Machado should have gotten drilled and took his medicine without reacting, but at the same time, pitchers should be aiming for his butt or back and not his head.
Of course, Barnes said it wasn’t intentional and Machado, who is often made to be the villain in these heated situations, took the high road on the incident after speaking with Pedroia via text and receiving an apology for how Boston retaliated.
“You never want to get hit in the head intentionally or not,” said Machado.
When asked if he was expecting retaliation, he said, “I wasn’t expecting anything, no. I thought I did a good slide. That’s on them whatever happened today.”
Looks like the American League East will be a must-see division this season, filled with stars, champions, bean-ball controversy, veterans trying to hold onto their greatness, young studs building on their legacy and nobody giving up an inch.