Ahhh Manny Machado, the $300 million dollar man. He comes with an endless supply of baseball talent and headlines. Unless you just started watching baseball this year, you might have heard he doesn’t hustle.
Let’s set a few things straight off the bat. I am not bashing Machado in any way. All I am doing is leading into this:
Machado is speaking of how he would be treated if he were in the Jake Marisnick/Jonathan Lucroy scenario. And, spoiler alert, the Padres infielder does not think he would fare well. Neither does Craig Calcaterra.
There is a very solid chance that Machado would be the villain no matter what in that scenario. How could you even deny it? Some of the fault there is at the hands of Machado for how he has handled himself in recent years. He does not shy away from the bad boy persona.
Calcaterra brings up a good question in regards to Machado. How is his play “dirty” and the play of others in similar situations isn’t?
A quick answer starts at the stage that Machado is caught doing these. Frankly, he lost a lot of potential love during the NLCS last year. Take this for example:
I’ll be honest, I didn’t like Machado after all of this happened. But then I read Ken Rosenthal’s elaboration on the infamous hustle interview.
It willed me to give Machado another chance. It also made me really think into if he was just getting a bad rap based on a few isolated incidents. Honestly, I believe that to be true.
Who cares about a lowly bloggers thoughts, right? But the thing is I am not alone. Former teammates have seen the same bias for Machado and how he is defined in the media. There is a clear bias.
This all leads me back to the original issue of this post. How would Machado be portrayed in the Marisnick/Lucroy play?
In the example brought up, Eric Byrnes and Dan Plesac are defending the baserunner, If Machado were that baserunner, would they still do that? In theory they would have the same arguments regardless.
That is not the world we live in. We live in a world where Machado is going to be the villain in any situation in the eyes of the media, and frankly fans outside of San Diego.
Personally, I love it. I am a big fan of the old Bad Boy Detroit Pistons. If they taught me anything it’s this. Love the team you have despite reputation. There is no doubt around the players in the league that Machado plays hard, and he is going to help the Padres win. That is what is important.
I am not advocating for cheering on scumbags off the field, but when Machado is given a bad reputation and a bias that appears empty the more I look into it? Yeah, give me that guy all day.