Man Crush of the Week: Manny Machado
Last week I named the Baltimore Orioles the Man Crush of the Week mostly because they are a terrible team that is somehow incredibly likable and in first place and makes me feel like I know nothing about baseball anymore.
I thought I would get them a little love before their inevitable collapse happened. Spoiler alert: It hasn’t. They keep winning while also losing key players to the team. This is probably the most likable story to happen in sports for quite a while.
And on Wednesday night they worked more magic. In the ninth inning with the score tied 2-2 and Rich Thompson on third and two out, Evan Longoria hit a slow roller to Manny Machado at third.
For those unfamiliar with Machado, he’s 20. He’s a shortstop but the O’s have him at third because it was the only opening. And so in a huge game, Machado took over the game.
Instead of throwing the ball to first to possibly get Longoria out or possible not and let the winning run scored, Machado did a street ball move like I’ve never seen in baseball, and made probably the coolest play a third baseman ever has. He faked the throw to first, luring Thompson off the bag, and then spun around and fired to JJ Hardy covering the bag to get Thompson caught in a rundown. It needs to be seen to really appreciate how awesome it was.
But it wasn’t done then. Machado comes up in the next inning and scores the winning run, leading to the Orioles carrying around Nate McLouth like he was a Barbie. It was maybe the most fun I’ve ever seen a baseball team having. And for good reason. They have no business being in a game this important in the division of the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays (and Blue Jays for that matter). And Machado is a huge part of that, as they’ve gone 20-11 since he’s been called-up.
I would offer to buy Machado a drink if he were old enough. But since he’s not I’ll do the next best thing and name him Man Crush of the Week.
Douchebag of the Week: The Washington Nationals
So let’s suppose you are a new team in a market and haven’t done a very good job of drawing fans. And the other team in your marker is doing magic shit all the time. And you just so happen to have an incredibly good team as well, in fact your best pitcher might be the best one in your league.
So what do you do?
Make him stop pitching!
I understand that shutting down Stephen Strasburg is meant to protect him from injuring his arm again after undergoing Tommy John surgery his rookie year. But I also understand that the Nationals are not smart at stuff
The idea Strasburg being shut down once he reached an inning limit has been talked about all season (why an inning limit when everyone else uses pitch counts can only be attributed to the Nationals being less than intelligent). So while the Nationals were playing good baseball all year it never occurred to them to maybe skip a start of Strasburg’s here or there so they could use him in meaningful September games or, you know, Game 7 of the World Series. Instead Strasburg is going to be sitting around watching his team not do everything it can to win, and against his will.
If there was some sort of data that suggested this was the right move, it would make sense. Or if there was some sort of order from a medical professional, that might also make sense. But since neither are true, the Nationals are just screwing themselves and all of their fans for no real reason. Sure, if you never eat a pizza you ordered you won’t run out of pizza, but there’s only a certain amount of time the pizza is good for (this is either the best or worst pizza/Tommy John surgery metaphor ever). There’s no reason to think these last couple starts for him will do any more damage than the previous ones he’s had this year.
But whatever, at least the D.C. area has a team they can watch and don’t have to worry about good players being shut down since they’re pretty much all injured anyways.
Follow Scott Bolohan on Twitter: @scottbolohan