The Red Sox and Orioles have never been the best of friends, actually quite the opposite, worst of enemies. They both reside in the AL East, and play each other a good amount of times per year. This year though is much different than an ordinary rivalry. Drama has been amped up, and the antics, both on and off the field, have risen in this, higher than most rivalries in sports today. This is a timeline of all the events that have occurred to make this newfound blood battle of a rivalry so interesting and entertaining to watch:
April 21st : Manny Machado Spikes Dustin Pedroia
This triggered all of the nonsense that followed with the Orioles vs. Sox rivalry. In the top of the 8th inning in a 2-0 Orioles win, Manny Machado slid into 2nd base, when the spikes of his cleats connected with Pedroia’s knee, and took Pedroia out of action for the next series against the New York Yankees. This also dropped him to bat 6th vs the Chicago Cubs. This incident intentional or not, was the lighter fluid on a newly found personal rivalry that is Baltimore vs. Boston.
April 23rd : Matt Barnes hits Machado in the head with pitch
Yes, Barnes did get suspended for this act of “revenge”, if you will. This incident caused the Orioles to get riled up, and the Red Sox on the other hand were still very much upset about Pedroia, who was believed to be intentionally spiked two nights before.
When the teams are upset, the fan base is bound to get involved. These events led to online wars and twitter battles between the two fan bases. Which leads us to our next key event that happened, not too long after the Barnes incident.
May 2nd : Adam Jones calls out Sox fans for racial slurs
We are all aware of this event that just added fuel to the fire that is this common-senseless rivalry. To briefly cover this act of stupidity, as Orioles CF Adam Jones was leaving Fenway, Red Sox fans were caught calling him cruel racial slurs that obviously upset him to the point where it spread nationwide.
Even Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia chimed in and said “When you go to Boston, expect it”. He also noted that Boston was the only place he was called the “N-word”, while playing for the Cleveland Indians. The fans who were caught saying these things to Jones were handed lifetime bans from Fenway Park, and a day later, Red Sox fans gave Jones a standing ovation, possibly to prove that it’s not all Sox fans that are like this. The drama didn’t end with this incident though, not even close.
May 1st : Chris Sale pitches ball behind Machado
Sale obviously wanted to take a jab at Machado for spiking Pedroia, and like so, he was ejected, although not suspended. There isn’t much more to say besides questioning Sale’s professionalism for trying to throw at Machado. Team drama is nothing new for these ball clubs, and with the series coming to a close at this point, it should be a breath of fresh air once these teams get out of their petty pitching and their name calling.
May 3rd : Xander Bogaerts hit by pitch from Kevin Gausman
Now it’s the Red Sox turn to be hit by pitches, at this point, baseball fans are tired of this buffoonery and outside of baseball antics. Bad blood has become no stranger to these two ball clubs. No matter if this pitch was intentional or not, Gausman was thrown out of the game (although not suspended like Barnes previously), for the curveball that hit Bogaerts in the side, which led to an argument with the umpire and just more foolishness to add to the list.
This rivalry is certainly an interesting one, as this is making out to be bigger than the Yankees vs. Red Sox rivalry, that has such a rich history of antics like such. The rivalry has brought up issues of race and baseball, and has went from passionate play, to lack of forgiveness and headhunting.
The Red Sox are going on to play the Milwaukee Brewers in a three-game road series, and the Baltimore Orioles are in a three-game series vs. the Washington Nationals. The next time these two teams go head-to-head is June 1st in Baltimore, so we will be able to see if these two teams leave the drama behind them.