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Thursday, May 19, 2022
<p>Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado reacts after striking out during Wednesday's 4-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox.</p>

Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado reacts after striking out during Wednesday's 4-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox.

When the Baltimore Orioles played the Boston Red Sox in a four-game series starting May 1, one of baseball’s budding rivalries was put on full display.

It doesn’t have the history the Red Sox and Yankees do, and they're not competing for state supremacy like the Dodgers and Giants are.

This one is based off a pure hatred for one another. The Orioles and the Red Sox just don’t like each other. More specifically, the Red Sox don’t like Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, and both teams are fighting it out as a result.

As a fan of baseball, there's nothing more exciting than bad blood between two teams.

Having a new, fresh rivalry is exactly what the MLB needs to draw some more attention back to the sport.

You no longer see teams that just can’t stand each other anymore.

Even baseball’s most intense rivalries have died down a bit. Gone are the days of the Red Sox-Yankees brawls, like the one in the 2003 ALCS where the benches cleared twice. Today, New York and Boston preserves the rivalry out of respect, not out of disdain.

If a player does something a team doesn’t like, they'll be beaned with a pitch and call it a day.

So when Machado injured the surgically repaired knee of Dustin Pedroia sliding into second base, it looked like Machado would just get hit by a pitch and that would be the end of it, as most cases are these days.

Instead, Red Sox pitcher Matt Barnes threw a heater at Machado’s head, ending any chance of this incident going away quietly. Boston continued to target Machado when the two teams met again for a four-game series two weeks later. Led by a 97-mph fastball from Chris Sale directed at his knees, the Red Sox tried five times, and failed each time, to hit Baltimore's third baseman, prompting him to call out the Red Sox.

“I mean, if you’re going to [expletive] hit me, hit me.”

Even the Orioles got in on the action, with pitcher Dylan Bundy nailing Mookie Betts in the hip with a fastball. And pitcher Kevin Gausman was ejected after hitting Xander Bogaerts with a 76-mph curveball.

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There’s nothing like watching two teams that just can’t stand each other going at it. With pitchers on both sides hitting batters in retaliation and players calling each other out, the only thing missing from this series was a massive brawl.

Fans need something to look forward to in a regular season marred by a lengthy and dull 162-game schedule. There aren’t a lot of instances where teams just hate each other and show it when they play.

Last season, one of the most talked about moments was when Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor socked Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista in the face during a brawl.

Baseball needs more excitement put back into the game, and while I don’t endorse teams breaking out into violent melees, it’s nice to see something different out of a baseball series every once and awhile.

Jake Dreilinger is the assistant sports editor. Follow him on Twitter @DreilingerJake and contact him at jdreilinger@alligator.org.

Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado reacts after striking out during Wednesday's 4-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox.

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