SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Manny Machado once again finds himself at the center of non-controversy. Yes, you read that right.
Sure, there were some fans who called his slide into La Jolla Country Day grad Tommy Edman "dirty." The play happened in the 4th inning of Sunday night's 5-3 win over the Cardinals and prevented a double play.
Manny Machado in the middle of another “dirty play or not” controversy pic.twitter.com/Nf7SNHwHdf— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) May 17, 2021
Just about everything Machado does is met with scorn on social media, which then gets debated during the 24-hour sports news cycle. It's one of the most tired takes possible from fans and media members, and it needs to stop.
The reaction in baseball circles to Sunday's play was almost universal -- Machado did everything correctly. He stayed in the baselines, got down low, and made a play that helped fuel what eventually became a go-ahead 4-run rally.
From modern players like San Diego's Adam Jones to old-school guys like former All-Star and Padres manager Larry Bowa, no one had a problem with Machado's actions.
That’s actually a smart play. He didn’t allow the double play to happen. Perfect execution! Welp within the rules. You might not like it but it’s PERFECTLY LEGAL. But the infielders don’t like it! https://t.co/SH3fC4ePZc— 10 (@SimplyAJ10) May 17, 2021
That’s what your suppose to do nothing dirty about that play— Larry Bowa (@LarryBowa10) May 17, 2021
The Padres even let it be known that Machado's play is exactly what they teach all their players to do in that situation during Spring Training.
More than a few people in baseball are puzzled as to why the Manny Machado-Tommy Edman play has become such a big story. Padres coaches teach what Machado did. They learned it from Buck Showalter, who began teaching it before he got to Baltimore. pic.twitter.com/ZJd8mxnBMc— Dennis Lin (@dennistlin) May 17, 2021
No, the controversy here is the double standard that critics have long applied to Machado, calling him a dirty player, a bad clubhouse guy, and someone who doesn't give it his all on the field. As MLB writer Britt Ghiroli tweeted, it doesn't even make sense when you try to put it all together.
“Manny Machado is a dirty player !” people are the same people mad if he does a half-hearted jog to get tagged out there. Uncle.— Britt Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) May 17, 2021
The reality of Manny Machado that so many people are unwilling to accept is that he is an incredibly smart and savvy baseball player, a game-changing slugger, a leader and beloved teammate in the clubhouse, and one of the most gifted third basemen in baseball history. Sure, he's had a few moments that rubbed opposing fan bases the wrong way -- as has every other talented baseball player in history. There were even people who didn't like Tony Gwynn.
There are those out there who want Machado to be a villain. It's easy fodder for talk shows and newspaper columns, but it's the laziest of takes and has led ignorant fans to make Machado a target for their endless whining about "what's wrong with baseball."
Manny Machado is what's right about baseball, pure and simple.
I'll let national baseball writer Robert Murray have the final word about this latest non-controversy: