Dustin Pedroia should be the unquestioned leader of the Red Sox locker room now that David Ortiz is gone, but he seemed to have forgotten that the other night. Red Sox Pitcher Matt Barnes threw a pitch dangerously close to Manny Machado’s head a couple days after Machado dinged up Pedroia on a questionable slide. Pedroia then said to Machado “it’s not me it’s them” and went on to call out Barnes even more in interviews after the game. So, apparently if you’re Pedroia, it’s ok to throw your teammates under the bus these days.
He felt differently back in 2012 when he was defending Kevin Youkilis after some critical comments from Bobby Valentine. Following his defense of Youkilis he was quoted as saying “I’m proud that I said that because Youk knows now that under any circumstances I’ll have his back. That goes for all my teammates. I love them.” It’s safe to say, Matt Barnes is not feeling that love right now.
So was what Barnes did acceptable? Absolutely not. Pedroia, Machado, and everyone else in baseball has the right to be angry with Barnes. Even within baseballs archaic set of unwritten rules it crossed the line. You get one shot at your guy and you better not throw at his head. But thats not the problem we’re discussing. No matter how much Pedroia disagreed with Barnes, Barnes is his teammate. They are competing together against the best baseball players alive, and trying to bring home a ring. It is a difficult task for a team to come together when your leader is willing to call you out in front of the entire world.
Team Chemistry is impossible to quantify, but it is the backbone of any winning teams success. The politics of convincing 25 men to lay it all out for each other day in and day out must be exhausting. Just having that many alpha males around each other must create its own problems. The one thing that each and every player can easily do is to have their team’s back. Pedroia should have never opened his mouth on that field. He should have taken Barnes into the clubhouse and handled it there. I don’t care how he handles it. He could scream in Barnes’s face or just stick him in the nose. It doesn’t matter how Pedroia handles it, it just matters that the whole world doesn’t see him taking sides with an opposing player.
Pedroia is a treasure of Boston sports. He’s a world champion, rookie of the year, and MVP. All while manning the keystone for the Red Sox. This is only a minor blemish on an otherwise storied career in Boston, but it can not go unnoticed. I hope that Barnes and Pedroia work this out, and I hope Pedroia realizes he handled this situation poorly.
Drellich, Evan, and DJ Bean. “Drellich: Pedroia Forgets Own Words on Leadership after Barnes Throws at Machado.” CSNNE.com. N.p., 25 Apr. 2017. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.
Mastrodonato, Jason. “Dustin Pedroia on Dangerous Pitch to Manny Machado: ‘That’s Not How You Do That’. Boston Herald. N.p., 23 Apr. 2017. Web. 26 Apr. 2017.