Just because Manny Machado appears to be the perfect World Series villain doesn’t mean he signed up to play the role.
The Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop aired out some pretty serious grievances against the Boston Red Sox last season after an incident involving Machado’s questionable slide during an April game while he was with the Baltimore Orioles.
Machado returns to Boston for Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night, which means that whole episode has resurfaced — as has the All-Star shortstop’s history of some controversial (others would say dirty) plays on the basepaths.
Machado was asked about that past Monday during a media session at Fenway Park and wound up taking a mild shot at Major League Baseball in the process.
“However you play is however you play,” Machado said, via Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan. “Everyone has their own different personalities in the game. Not everybody can be robots. I know MLB is trying to make us robots, but we’re just going to go out there and play our game.”
Ironically enough, the 26-year-old gave essentially robotic responses during the rest of his session as reporters tried to ask him about his history with Boston. Here’s a small sampling of his replies, per Passan:
— “I’m here to win a World Series.”
— “Both teams are trying to win a World Series.”
— “Excited to be in the World Series.”
Most Red Sox players were diplomatic when asked about Machado — Steve Pearce even called him “the best person I know in the game” — but there’s clearly still some lingering bad blood. And while Machado can limit the drama with his comments, his on-field play certainly will be scrutinized as the series goes on.