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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Where we’re rehashing Manny/Red Sox drama

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Remember those dust-ups between the O’s and Red Sox involving Manny Machado in 2017? If not, the media will soon be reminding you.

Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

The stage is set. The bright lights are on. The 2018 World Series between the Red Sox and the Dodgers starts tonight in Boston. Who are you pulling for? (Note: that question is a trap. If you answer the Red Sox, you will be forcibly ejected from this website.)

Although these two franchises have both been in existence for well over a century, they haven’t faced each other in a World Series since 1916, when the Dodgers were the Brooklyn Robins. Still, there’s some recent history between these two for the media to latch onto — or, more accurately, there’s recent history between the Red Sox and Manny Machado.

Those of us in Birdland are well aware of the brouhaha, which erupted in early 2017 when Machado was an Oriole. It all started April 21 at Camden Yards when a Machado slide at second base landed a spike into Dustin Pedroia’s knee. Pedroia had to be helped off the field (and ultimately landed on the DL), and the Red Sox — and some members of their media — were steaming mad at Manny, calling it a dirty slide.

Now, Machado has certainly had his share of ugly incidents of his own making. He seems to have fully embraced his villain role for the Dodgers this postseason with a number of classless, dirty plays in the NLCS. But in this particular instance last year, Manny wasn’t being malicious. He just had a poorly executed slide because he’s a terrible baserunner. He even tried to prevent Pedroia from falling over, as shown in the picture above. Even Pedroia seemed to realize it wasn’t intentional.

Unfortunately, his Red Sox teammates felt differently, and spent the next two months going after Machado whenever possible. Two days after the slide, Boston righty Matt Barnes threw a fastball behind Machado’s head, for which he received a four-game suspension.

You, a reasonable person, might think hurling a projectile at someone’s head at 100 mph is a dangerous and completely unwarranted response to a sloppy but unintentional slide. That’s where you would differ from the Red Sox, who thought, “No, we haven’t gone far enough.” So they escalated the tensions in the next series in Boston in May when Chris Sale threw a pitch behind Machado’s back. Yet somehow the only pitcher to get ejected in the series was an Oriole, Kevin Gausman, who threw a 77-mph curveball into Xander Bogaerts’ hip in the second inning.

What a mess. And it all traced back to Machado’s slide at second base and Boston’s team-wide freakout over it. Think you’ll be seeing some of those clips when Machado steps to the plate for his first at-bat against the Red Sox tonight?

Links

Manny Machado to face another team that doesn’t like him very much – HardballTalk
Here’s another summary of the Machado/Red Sox dust-up I just talked about, complete with video of Manny’s expletive-laden tirade about the Sox.

Steve Pearce Has Wildly Different Opinion Of Manny Machado Than Most | Boston Red Sox | NESN.com
Unlike his Boston teammates, Steve Pearce loves Manny Machado, even calling him “the best person I know.” Further proof that Steve Pearce is far too classy a guy to be playing for the Red Sox.

Orioles geared toward signing Gastón (and other notes) - School of Roch
Roch Kubatko wrote this story Monday morning, but by Monday night, there were Twitter rumors that Sandy Gaston had signed with the Rays. Nothing seems to be official, however.

David Price got his signature moment with Boston. Will his old teammate Alex Cobb get that chance with Orioles? - Baltimore Sun
I’ll take “Questions That Are Easy to Answer” for 100, Alex.

After 2018 low point, odds are against Chris Davis being productive again - Steve Melewski
I agree with Melewski when he says Davis needs to take more accountability for his horrible performance instead of doing things like blaming the shift. The shift didn’t make you stop hitting the ball over the fence, Chris.

Arizona Fall League roundup for October 20 - MLB.com
In encouraging O’s prospect news, Ryan McKenna is tearing up the AFL, posting a 1.059 OPS so far.

Orioles birthdays

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! It’s the 36th birthday of one-time hotshot prospect Denny Bautista, Pedro Martinez’s cousin, who in 2004 made two appearances with the Orioles at age 21 before being traded for 36-year-old reliever Jason Grimsley in an utterly bewildering deal. Now that Bautista himself is 36, perhaps the O’s could find a 21-year-old to trade for him! I mean, Bautista is no longer playing pro ball, but still.

It’s also the birthday of original Oriole Vern Stephens, who accompanied the franchise from St. Louis to Baltimore in 1954. Stephens, who died in 1968, would have been 98 today.