A rained-out Tuesday was pretty action packed, and a little head-scratching.
The Red Sox circled the wagons well, arriving at a unified message about the Dustin Pedroia and Manny Machado situation: this is behind us, and we’re all good. But it was a weird string of events that brought the Sox to that bottom line.
Happy Hanley Ramirez decided he was going to be Matt Barnes’ public relations representative, running bubbly interference when reporters approached Barnes in the clubhouse.
Ramirez then said there was no team meeting to discuss the fallout from that pitch Barnes threw too close to Machado’s head.
At first, Sox manager John Farrell said nothing about the fallout. He then later referred to a hypothetical meeting that took place.
But it wasn't hypothetical. Diplomatic Dustin acknowledged the discussion that touched on his words to Machado: “It’s not me, it’s them.”
Defiant David Price, meanwhile, was off tweeting something passive aggressive about another matter entirely.
But whether or not you believe the Sox, Tuesday’s rain-out scene was simply weird. A strange mishmash of approaches and attitudes.
We’ll take it chronologically, and begin our day with a tweet from Price.
1. Perhaps someone’s story or commentary recently irked Price. Or maybe he was just in a bad mood.
Why else would Price announce that he's holding his media session about Monday’s bullpen session on Twitter, and that he won't answer no questions?
Raul Martinez of NBC Boston said on Twitter: “Went to his ice cream (charity) event yesterday, said we're going to ask about health & got up & left.”
Maybe that’s it.
So you’ve got the rehabbing $30 million pitcher off in one corner doing his thing, still having trouble with the attention he's receiving.
2. Around lunchtime, Farrell made his first remarks of the day, in a weekly spot on SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio. He was asked a couple questions about the Pedroia-Machado-Barnes brouhaha, and wanted nothing of it.
Farrell told hosts Jim Duquette and Mike Ferrin that he did not mean to be short. Except he did. His answer may as well have been, “We’re on to Cincinnati.”
3. Move forward a couple hours. The Yankees-Sox game gets rained out and the Sox clubhouse opens for 30 minutes. Reporters approach Barnes, who’s appealing his four-game suspension for throwing at Machado.
But Barnes had to take care of something first before talking to reporters. Ramirez, who wasn't far from Barnes’ locker when reporters approached, tried to be some sort of shield. A goofy shield.
Remember that Ramirez has spiritually taken over for David Ortiz, or just really wants to. And Ramirez, clearly in a good mood, wanted the media to talk to him instead of Barnes.
(Ramirez, of course, doesn’t control who talks when. The media talked to both players.)
“No more talking about what happened in Baltimore,” Ramirez said at the end of his chat. “It’s over. … Let’s go Sox nation!”
Ramirez was being playful. But let’s go Sox nation? What? Who says that?
4. Pedroia could have dodged the media for the 30 allotted minutes in the clubhouse, but he seemed to know there was an issue to quell.
“We all talked about that. We’re going to keep that in house,” Pedroia said, not nearly as jovial as Ramirez. “We feel good about each other. We all have each others’ backs. Everybody knows how everybody feels about each other. We’re pretty excited about the group we have."
Pedroia said he clarified what he meant by that “it’s not me, it’s them” comment — privately.
“I think guys that should know, know how we feel about each other and things like that,” Pedroia said. “It’s unfortunate that the outside has an opinion, but they’re going to have an opinion about everything. We all know how we feel. We’re moving on. We’re getting ready for this series, then the Cubs, then the Orioles. We’ve got a tough stretch. We’re focusing on baseball and turning the page.”
Pedroia was more testy when responding to a reporter’s question about his own words than he was a question about Orioles closer Zach Britton’s allegation that Pedroia can’t control his clubhouse.
Britton was way off-base when he suggested to BaltimoreBaseball.com that Pedroia didn’t have control of his group because Barnes threw at Machado. As though Pedroia was supposed to throw himself in front of the pitch.
But Pedroia, now 33, didn’t show off his fiery side.
He still can get riled up, but you have to wonder if his new position as the de facto team leader and his age have mellowed him. In the absence of Ortiz, is Pedroia now a diplomat?
“Everybody has their opinion. I don’t know Zach,” Pedroia said. “I haven’t played with him. I’m sure if I had played with him, his opinion of what he said would be different. I just know him as one of the best closers in the game. That’s it. His comments were said after an emotional game. Obviously he was upset at the situation. I don’t think negatively of him. I try to look at both sides before I jump to conclusions on anything.”
5. Then it was Barnes’ turn.
The Sox reliever who could have been offended by Pedroia said nothing at all, which was really his only choice. But Barnes wasn’t exactly loose, free and easy while giving non-answers. This was a tense situation, and Barnes didn’t disguise that. You can understand why.
6. Seemingly in a better mood a few hours after his satellite radio talk, Farrell had a little more to say about the the whole thing when he met with reporters at Fenway Park.
“I didn't feel any rift that was in the clubhouse because of what transpired,” Farrell said. “Any conversation that might have been needed was had and we're on to this series upcoming. What's done is done.
“The one thing that I will say is, whether we are challenged by performance, injuries, things that take place between the lines, (I feel) very confident and strong that this is a team that's got one another's back and we handle it as a team.”
Maybe the Sox just need to work on their public relations a little bit, unify their approach. They all seem to know the bottom line.