Dustin Pedroia, still injured, apologized for something he didn’t do.
Matt Barnes, trying to protect his injured teammate in barbaric baseball tradition, apologized for something he did do.
Pedroia then went as far as to say he loved — loved! — Manny Machado, who has maintained innocence in this dust-up all along, even on Sunday.
This episode of Red Sox-Orioles anger should die here, after any presumed discipline the league finds suitable for Barnes is delivered.
There’s a four-game set starting May 1 between these two at Fenway Park, and the reset button should be hit before then.
In a clear attempt at retribution for Machado spiking Pedroia two games earlier, Barnes threw at Machado in the eighth inning of a 6-2 Sox win Sunday at Camden Yards.
The pitch actually wound up a foul ball, but was way too close to Machado’s head — and no one pretended otherwise.
“That’s bull (crap),” Pedroia was caught on camera yelling from the dugout at Machado after the pitch.
Pedroia was telling Machado they actually shared the same view: that what Pedroia’s teammate Barnes did was wrong.
That the outcome was wrong, specifically.
“He’s not trying to hit Manny in the head,” Pedroia told reporters after the game. “It’s just a bad situation man.
“I'm sorry to him and his team. If you're going to protect guys, you do it right away. … There was zero intention of (Machado) trying to hurt me. He just made a bad slide. He did hurt me. It's baseball, man. I'm not mad at him. I love Manny Machado. I love playing against him. I love watching him. If I slid into third base and got Manny's knee, I know I'm going to get drilled. That's baseball. I get drilled, and I go to first base. That's it."
Barnes denied he was trying to hit Machado, but everyone knows otherwise. The Sox tried to even the score with Machado and the O’s on Sunday and failed dangerously.
Considering how the Sox responded immediately; considering how Barnes and Pedroia both apologized, Pedroia profusely; considering Pedroia is the one who’s hurt, and Machado was — thankfully — not hit with the terribly placed pitch; this should be the end of it.
“It’s a short term memory that we need to have and that’s what we’re going to do here,” Machado told reporters Sunday.
Let’s see if that holds true on both sides.
Barnes’ pitch hit Machado, but only on a ricochet. It caught the bat extended over Machado’s right shoulder instead, strangely creating a foul ball that bounced off the bat and into Machado’s back.
Machado proceeded to double off the the next pitcher, Joe Kelly, who entered because Barnes was ejected.
Pedroia’s going for tests on his knee and ankle on Monday, three days after Machado spiked him. He still hasn’t played since that slide.
A pitch to the head is much more threatening than a spike to the leg. It’s also harder to fathom a pitch to the head being made with any form of intent.
Machado never apologized publicly, although he has tried to make clear that what he did was unintentional.
He and Pedroia communicated by text Friday and Sunday.
“I wasn't expecting anything, no,” Machado told reporters Sunday of retaliation. “I thought I did a good slide. Everyone saw the replay, they know on that slide, that's on them whatever happened today. I'm going to keep doing me, keep playing baseball.
“I'm going to respect Pedey to the end of this day. I look up to a guy like that.”
Machado maintaining he made a good slide is a little out of tune while the Sox sat there and apologized. Intentional or not, Machado made a bad slide, his foot high in the air.
Note, too, that Pedroia said he’d expect to get drilled if he spiked Machado — while Machado said he expected nothing.
Tit for tat clearly remains standard operating procedure, without regard for player safety.
O’s manager Buck Showalter praised the “courage” his team had not to escalate everything, although a more appropriate word would have been discipline. Showalter’s right: a pitch in the area of head is not the kind of thing that’s easy to ignore.
But Machado, who once threw a bat at Fernando Abad, knows what his reputation is in this game.
“They think I’m the villain. It’s always me,” Machado told reporters Sunday. “Manny always does something wrong.”
On Sunday, he did it right. He stayed calm when the Red Sox wronged him. That’s commendable.
Maybe everyone can do it right going forward.