COLUMN: Manny Machado critics need to zip it

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Posted at 3:19 PM, May 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-17 19:07:42-04

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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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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: