Here's a few thoughts about the beaning of Manny Machado that I just had to get off my chest while waiting through an off day and a likely rainout tonight at Fenway:
First of all, I've absolutely had it with the deluge of insufferable tweets, columns, think pieces, and TV show rants that come out of the woodwork every time there's a high-profile beaning in the MLB. You know the ones I'm talking about - beaning is a symbol of the old fashioned Neanderthal macho culture of a sport dominated by men, there's no place in the game any more for beaning, and any time a beanball goes anywhere near the cranium we have to immediately compare it to Tony Conigliaro. Some of these blowhards even went as far as to connect beaning in baseball to rape culture in our society at large, as if hitting a man with a thrown baseball is similar to sexual assault. Good grief.
These are the same soft namby-pambies that cry that fighting should be removed from the NHL, suspensions should be handed out for leaving the dugouts to remove brawls from MLB, and every time a quarterback gets breathed on too heavily it should be a fine and 15-yard penalty in the NFL. Enough. Sometimes you deserve to get punched in the face. Sometimes a man has to stand up for his teammate and fight someone. Sometimes you have to learn to take a beating in response to something stupid you did. Whether Machado meant to or not, when you slide and almost blow out the knee and ankle of the opponent's captain, you're going to get a fastball to the ribs for that. End of story. You know who doesn't whine and cry about beanings? The players themselves. They get it. If these blowhards would stop clutching their pearls for a second at the thought of any form of aggression or violence, they just might see that there are life lessons for young men here.
Manny Machado knew he was going to get beaned on Sunday the minute he woke up and got out of bed. When Machado arrived at the ballpark, he knew he was getting pelted with a 95 mph fastball later that day. Did he avoid it? Ask his manger to take him out of the lineup? No, he manned up, got dressed, and took his beaning that he knew was coming. There's life lesson #1 for anyone who cares to teach lessons rather than scream about the impact of violence on our children watching at home.
The real story here that should have been written about on Twitter, in columns, and screamed about on TV is Manny Machado taking his beaning like a man, then getting up, brushing himself off, stepping back into the batter's box, and ripping an RBI double into the gap. He didn't whine about it, he didn't start a fight in response, he didn't cry about violence in the sport. There's life lesson #2 for anyone who cares - take your consequences, then come back stronger.
Should Matt Barnes have thrown at Machado's head and potentially seriously injured one of the game's brightest stars? No. Do I believe Barnes meant to hit him in the head? Absolutely not. If Barnes could have walked up to the plate and chosen the exact spot to hit Machado, he would have chosen high up on his back above the numbers and under his name. That's where I believe he was aiming. The combination of the adrenaline flowing knowing that he's beaning someone and might have to fistfight right away if they charge the mound and the fact pitchers never practice throwing pitches to that spot caused it to miss high. I don't understand how this is so hard for people to accept, including Dustin Pedroia.
Speaking of that, what the hell was Pedroia doing? Why would the captain of the team yell from the dugout where his entire team can hear him, essentially saying "my teammate f'd up there Manny, I'm so sorry I love you so much, you know I love you, please don't be mad at me, we're good right Manny?" Hey Dustin, how about just saying you would have hit him in his first at bat and moved on? Why throw your teammate under the bus who is beaning someone and taking a 4-game suspension as retribution for a slide on your knee? How about kissing and making up with Manny in a text conversation after the game out of camera shot?
And finally, of course, it wouldn't be an RSM post by me without a shot at replay in baseball. Replay is ruining the sport of baseball and nobody with any power to do anything about it seems to care. A team can't even bean someone who deserves it then move on with life any more. Both teams had to stand around pissed off at each other, then Machado had to watch Kelly warm up, thinking that Kelly would probably plunk him again. It was the most awkward, inane, and unnecessary scene I've seen on a baseball field in some time. Not because beaning culture needs to be removed from the game - because replay needs to be removed from the game.