This saga began April 21st, almost two weeks ago when Manny Machado slid aggressively into second base, spiking Dustin Pedroia in the lower leg. The umpires after review decided not to invoke the Chase Utley slide rule. However, Machado and Pedroia essentially just called it a baseball play.

“I’ve turned double plays in the big leagues for 11 years, that’s my job. That’s not the first time I’ve been hit. It won’t be the last.” -Dustin Pedroia to ESPN

Battle Lines Drawn

While baseball and its players have always had an unwritten rule of policing themselves, it’s usually relatively quick and decisive. You run into or hit my player, I’ll hit yours, case closed. However, the Red Sox waited two days to retaliate, when reliever Matt Barnes threw at Machado’s head. While throwing a fastball at one’s head can be seen as a bit excessive, it’s the playing a clean game the day in between that’s puzzling. Regardless, after the game, Pedroia re-emphasized that there was no ill intent in Machado’s slide.

“There was zero intention of him trying to hit me.”

The Sox and Orioles series ended and with that, you would think the stand-off between the Red Sox and Orioles would as well. Especially with time in between series to move on and cool off. You might have thought that Machado’s home run would have been the exclamation point, enough to satisfy the Orioles by letting the bat do the talking when the two teams met up eight days later.

You would have thought wrong.

Like a vengeful, jealous boyfriend, the Orioles retaliated by having Dylan Bundy throw at Mookie Betts.

Shots Fired

Okay, you threw at my best player and I have now thrown at your best player. Over, right?

Nope. Wrong again.

It’s May 2nd, Chris Sale is on the mound and throws a fastball behind Machado. This prompted warnings to both benches.

Middle School Mediation

On May 3rd, like a vice-principal calling in the parents and principal to mediate an escalating situation between two students in order to come to an agreement or reconciliation, Joe Torre tried to orchestrate a conference call between Rob Manfred, John Farrell, and Buck Showalter.

Unfortunately, just like the students and parents who normally shake hands in the office in front of the schools’ administration, their fingers were crossed behind their back. Just hours later, the events that transpired on the field at Fenway Park illustrated just how pointless that meeting was.

Kevin Gausman beaned Xander Bogaerts in the bottom of the second inning.

Gausman was immediately ejected.

All Out War?

Buck Showalter and John Farrell are acting like two petulant children who need to have the last word. What’s worse, is if an intervention doesn’t happen soon, someone could get hurt. Really hurt.

And that would likely result in a bench-clearing brawl, which could end up costing the Red Sox or Orioles a valuable player for a long time. Case in point, in 2013, Zack Greinke ended up with a broken collarbone after he hit Padres Carlos Quentin, which resulted in a charge to the mound.

God forbid anything like the 1967 Tony Conigliaro incident occurs, which could alter or cut short a players’ career. Or gasp, a tragedy like Ray Chapman, who passed away as a result of being hit in the head just because someone wanted to make a point. If this is allowed to go on and escalate further, something tragic is likely to be on the horizon.

MLB needs to put a cease and desist order out before the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles game tonight and going forward. And the onus placed on the managers of the respective teams to expect heavy-handed consequences if they cannot reign in their teams before we all regret what may transpire from further escalation.

From what all started with a relatively common baseball play.




Stronger Intervention Needed: Orioles and Red Sox

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