Approximately 19% of the U.S. population has an average of 1.4 foot problems each year. For professional athletes, especially on the baseball diamond, that percentage is much larger.
Ballplayers have to deal with pitches hitting their feet, either by a throw or ricocheting off their bat, foot-related injuries while sliding into a base, or running hard in the field. Unfortunately, sometimes these on-field injuries are caused by a player intentionally trying to harm another player.
In the National League Championship Series (NLCS), between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Milwaukee Brewers, both teams have been giving everything they have to overtake their opponent and reach the World Series. Manny Machado, one of the best players in the league and the Dodgers’ recent acquisition, is making headlines this week. But not because of his stellar defensive play or a big at-bat… because of a dirty run to first.
According to ESPN, in the bottom of the 13th inning in Game 4 of the NLCS, Machado hit a routine ground-ball and was easily thrown out at first. Machado could’ve easily ran right through the bag and took the out, but he instead slowed down and intentionally stuck out his left foot to clip the foot and ankle of Brewers’ first-basman, Jesus Aguilar.
Dirty play. The benches cleared.
Of course, Machado would go on to score the game-winning run, but tempers flared during the game and immediately after.
“[Machado] has a history with those types of incidents,” said Brewers’ outfielder and all-star Christian Yelich. “One time is an accident. Repeated over and over again — it’s a dirty play by a dirty player.”
Yelich is correct. Machado does have a history of “those types” of incidents:
Here is Machado slamming his batting helmet down after being tagged by then-Oakland Athletic’s third-baseman, Josh Donaldson. A little out of the ordinary, but not too bad, right?
During the next game, however, when Machodo was up to the plate, he clearly took a big swing and throw his bat directly at Donaldson — you can view that video here.
Machado was fined an undisclosed amount of money for his Tuesday night foot collision with Aguilar. He has not been suspended.