Rob Manfred had a message for the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles.
The Major League Baseball commissioner held a conference call Wednesday with both teams’ managers and general managers, as well as MLB chief baseball officer Joe Torre, who spoke about the escalating situation with FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
“One issue is the fact they’ve played each other so often,” Torre told Rosenthal about the conference call. “Once something happens, then it just seems to grow and fester and all that. Basically, in trying to keep score on who owes who what, we figured there was enough going on with both sides that we basically just had a phone call today to let them know we want to play baseball. We don’t want to get anybody hurt.
“Players deserve to be on the field. We appreciate your passion, but we certainly need to have the focus on playing games instead of trying to get even, if somebody thinks they need to get even. Sitting in an impartial seat, you look at it and realize enough is enough. I know if you wear a uniform, you’re always feeling that you’re on the short end of it. I understand that feeling. But the commissioner made his point, without going into specifics, just about getting down to baseball. If this stuff continues, there will be some discipline.”
The conference call comes after Red Sox left-handed starter Chris Sale threw a pitch behind Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, who responded with multiple expletives during his postgame press conference following Boston’s 5-2 win.
“That’s something we don’t really tolerate, throwing behind somebody . . . that’s something that’s dangerous,” Torre told Rosenthal. “It looked like it was intentional. Chris Sale is a great pitcher. When he throws the ball behind somebody, unless it’s a rainy day, I don’t see that being by mistake.”
Tensions have been high ever since Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia was injured on a hard slide by Machado on April 21.
“He’s been very productive,” Torre said of Machado. “He plays hard. The slide at second base, I know the Red Sox took exception. I thought it was a hard slide, a clean slide. Unfortunately, somebody got hurt.”
Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes then was suspended four games after throwing a pitch near Machado’s head later in the series.
But there won’t be any pregame warnings before Wednesday night’s game at Fenway Park.
“I just don’t want guys walking on eggs,” Torre said, via Rosenthal. “And I don’t want the umpires walking on eggs. The umpires know the situation. They get heads-ups in these situations. We want them to go about doing their business. We just want the players to play ball.”
Game 3 of the teams’ four-game series will get underway at 7:10 p.m. ET on Wednesday at Fenway.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images