The Orioles and the Red Sox have a little heat brewing early in this year’s MLB season.
The two teams are already division rivals, but the bad blood really began a few weeks ago when Manny Machado slide into Dustin Pedroia trying to break up a double play, catching the Red Sox second baseman with his spikes. Later in the series, Boston reliever Matt Barnes threw behind the head of Machado and was promptly ejected.
The two teams kicked off a new series at Fenway Park on Monday night, and neither team had forgotten. In the sixth inning, Machado took a Rick Porcello fastball and hit it over the Green Monster and out of the stadium altogether. The real kicker, though, is that he took his sweet time watching the ball sail over the wall before engaging in much-slower-than-usual home run trot around the bases.
That wasn’t the end of things, though.
Baltimore center fielder Adam Jones said after the game that Boston fans took taunting to an offensive new low, claiming he was subjected to racist insults from the Fenway faithful.
“A disrespectful fan threw a bag of peanuts at me,’’ Jones said, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. “I was called the N-word a handful of times tonight. Thanks. Pretty awesome.’
“It’s unfortunate. The best thing about myself is that I continue to move on, and still play the game hard. Let people be who they are. Let them show their true colors.’’
Jones added that he heard Fenway security ejected somewhere around 60 fans from the game. However, he doesn’t think a simple ejection is enough for fans who throw objects onto the field. He wants MLB to enforce harsher punishments.
“It’s pathetic,’’ he said. “It’s called a coward. What they need to do is that instead of kicking them out of the stadium, they need to fine them 10 grand, 20 grand, 30 grand. Something that really hurts somebody. Make them pay in full. And if they don’t, take it out of their check.
That’s how you hurt somebody. You suspend them from the stadium, what does that mean? It’s a slap on the wrist. That guy needs to be confronted, and he needs to pay for what he’s done.
At the end of the day, when you throw an object onto the field of play, the player has no idea what it is. What if something hit me right in the eye and I can’t play baseball anymore. Then what? I just wear it? No.”
The O’s and the Sox still have three more games to play against each other this week, so let’s hope that the situation doesn’t escalate any further.