Are the Red Sox and Orioles baseball’s new rivalry?

After some heated confrontations, it appears the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles have taken the title of baseball’s best rivalry.

Ejections, benches emptying and profanity-laced rants. All of these things sound like your classic rivalry. The 2017 versions of the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles are no different.

It all began on April 21 when Manny Machado took out Dustin Pedroia with a dangerous slide, one that Major League Baseball has tried to eliminate. Things once again escalated on April 23 when Boston reliever Matt Barnes threw at Machado’s head.

Sure enough, a wave of incidents went on. Dylan Bundy threw at Mookie Betts, Chris Sale threw behind Machado and Kevin Gausman “threw” at Xander Bogaerts.

If these incidents aren’t enough for you, consider this. When was the last time the sport had a true, old fashioned rivalry?

Well, it’s been a while. Most could agree that it was the New York Yankees and Red Sox, but that has cooled down as the years have passed on.

In many ways, Manny Machado is the new Alex Rodriguez in the eyes of Boston fans. The superstar third baseman has always been known to be a tough, hard-nosed competitor. His fight against Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura proved this.

So, no one should really be surprised that he has been the target of much of the criticism in the ongoing tension between the teams.

The thing that makes this a real rivalry, though, is the fact that he answers with lots of power, too.

Not only did he answer back with a towering 466-foot shot, he went on a now infamous profanity-laced rant after the game. In recent memory, can we really think of a time when there was this much tension between two teams in the game?

The simple answer is no, we can’t.

The conflict has reached the level that commissioner Rob Manfred and league executive Joe Torre had to intervene.

However, off the playing field, the new rivalry has shined light on a unfortunate aspect that has often plagued the game: racism.

Adam Jones, one of the league’s most honest, humble players, was the victim of racist comments from the fans in the outfield of Fenway Park.

Jones said this wasn’t the first time it has happened. But is it even worse after the heightened tensions between the two clubs? Manfred had better hope not, as the game has already taken a hit for this situation. Rightfully so, the Red Sox banned the fan in question from the park.

Perhaps Manfred should have issued a formal warning rather than putting all umpires on “high alert.” Either way, there’s a good chance both wouldn’t have helped the situation.

If one thing is for sure, though. It’s that Boston has a new number 13 to hate. Based on how the season has gone so far, it doesn’t look like hitting batters, ejections or warnings will end anytime soon.

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