It’s not hard to get a bad reputation. Especially in sports. Sometimes all it takes is one or two rough moments to change the way fans think of you — to wipe away the good and paint a player as a villain.
Consider how quickly Manny Machado went from wunderkind of the diamond to baseball bad-boy in just a few years time. Machado has had a few issues in the past — mainly that time in 2014 when he threw his bat toward third base after a couple of brush-back pitches against the Oakland A’s.
Once Machado found himself at the center of baseball drama this week, as the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles cranked things up to rap beef-level. Machado got thrown at twice after a hard slide into second base. He unleashed an epic rant after the second time the Red Sox threw at him. And some people started to roll their eyes about how Machado was being naughty again.
But that’s not the case here. It’s the topic I tackle this week in my Open Mike video series here on Yahoo Sports (welcome back to Season 2, say hello to our new set!).
Sure, Machado has been a bad guy in the past, but this time, he handled himself pretty well all things considered. He didn’t charge the mound. Didn’t toss a bat at anybody. He mostly retaliated by hitting some homers — and while that might have angered the Red Sox and their fanbase, it surely doesn’t make him a villain.
If pitchers can throw at hitters without getting much of a punishment from MLB — look, Chris Sale wasn’t even suspended for throwing behind Machado — then what’s so bad about what Machado’s done here?
It used to be that hard-nosed slides and curse words made someone a tough player. Guess that’s only the case if people haven’t already decided you’re a bad guy.
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