This Red Sox and Orioles Rivalry Is Good For Baseball

by Jake Archer | Posted on Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017
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On Tuesday night at Fenway Park, the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles rivalry hit an all time high and I for one, am excited about it. On the first pitch to Orioles superstar third baseman Manny Machado in the first inning, Sox starter Chris Sale threw behind him and fanned the flames of a fire that was already burning brightly.

Machado and the Orioles obviously took exception to the pitch because it was so clearly intentional and it was meant to send a message. The third baseman did not charge the mound and there was no bench-clearing brawl, but the tension was high. The umpires warned both teams and Machado began screaming things at the Red Sox dugout that I probably can’t write here. Meanwhile, Chris Sale took steps toward the batter and stared him down as if daring him to do something about it. It was pretty awesome.

Now, obviously, we don’t want to see anyone get seriously injured. Throwing at the head is not cool and neither is something like say attacking someone with a bat. But, what I’m not understanding is everyone saying that this is all moronic or “not good for baseball.” That’s simply not true. People tune in for this type of drama; it’s just what sells. I was more excited watching last night’s game with the Orioles then I have been for any Red Sox regular season game in a while. For the rest of the summer, that’ll continue to be the case because I’ll know what the possibilities are.

I don’t want non-baseball hate like the despicable stuff between a Red Sox fan and Adam Jones because there is just no place for that. But a good old-fashioned baseball rivalry where two teams do not like each other and make it no secret? That’s a beautiful thing. In today’s society, there is too much of the “let’s all be buddy-buddy” stuff when in reality these guys are competitors. They shouldn’t be friends and I hate that Dustin Pedroia seems to be going against his own teammates because he texts with Manny Machado. I honestly thought Pedroia was better than how he’s acted recently.

Instead of Pedroia the man that has stepped up to take the leadership role on the Red Sox is Chris Sale. We wondered who would take up that mantle now that David Ortiz is retired and I think we have our answer. A lot of people say that it’s tough for a pitcher to be a leader because he isn’t out there every day but look at the contrast between Sale and Pedroia right now and tell me that this isn’t Sale’s team. It is, and because of that, he took charge of the situation last night.

One last thing I want to clear up here is that the Orioles and seemingly most of the media are conveniently trying to place all of the blame on the Red Sox. They are forgetting that Baltimore threw at Mookie Betts’ head last year because Betts treated them like his own personal punching bag. If you want to keep it to just this year I’ll break it down for those of you scoring at home.

First, Machado goes in and spikes Pedroia on what was a late slide to anyone with a pair of eyeballs. Then, admittedly, the Red Sox mishandle the situation by going at Machado’s head two days later. Bad look, bad call by Boston, I’ll admit that. But effectively, everything is square and the Orioles come to Fenway this week saying that the issue is over and done with despite some jawing from a few players. Well, Dylan Bundy then hits Mookie Betts in the thigh after missing on the pitch before during Monday night’s game. They were both obviously intentional and unnecessary but at least they went low. Well, now the Red Sox owe the Orioles one back so Sale buzzes Machado. Again, we are square.

However, the Orioles go at Andrew Benintendi’s head late in last night’s game when the Red Sox had a decent enough lead and they had a scrub on the mound. Yet that’s being completely ignored and everyone wants to blame the Red Sox for being bush league. Yea, that makes sense.

I’ll tell you, this thing is far from over. This could go all summer long and guess what? I’ll love it. As long as no one goes at the head then let’s get a few dustups and some jawing and things like that. I’ll be all for it.

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Jake Archer
About the Author

Jake is a sports blogger with a passion for baseball and the Red Sox. He loves pitcher's duels, ballpark food and listening to games on the radio. He's got some strong opinions on things like pace-of-play, the DH rule and more. Follow him on Twitter at @jarcher04.

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