Last night's brawl between Orioles shortstop Manny Machado and Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was one of those galvanizing moments--if not for the team, then at least its fans.
Kansas City may have been a Cinderella story when they won the World Series last year with a team filled with homegrown talent. But not here, not in Baltimore. People still hate the way the Royals beat the Orioles in the 2014 ALCS with dinky hits and a cocksure attitude. They hate guys like Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas.
So when Machado took a 99-mph fastball in the back--three innings after Ventura nearly hit him with another heater--and the infielder charged the mound and connected on a right hook/DDT combo against Ventura, the crowd ate it up. The benches cleared, and the more things got out hand, the more fans loved it. As the sides broke up and the fighting players were pulled a part, the crowd started chanting "Mann-y! Mann-y!" This is what Orioles fans, still with something of a chip on their shoulder, have been yearning for: We're not taking Kansas City's shit anymore.
Watch the video again in all its glory:
Machado's righteous anger. The way he avoids Ventura's weak punch and then lands one pretty cleanly. The way Chris Davis runs into the fray like a bat out of hell and jumps into the pile. It's all so awesome.
The Orioles answered the best way possible: bashing two homers in the following at-bats. It was a beautiful act of revenge, and the crowd roared with approval.
After the 9-1 win, Machado told reporters, "I don't regret anything." Nor should he, according to Adam Jones.
"I’m glad for Manny for defending himself," the center fielder said to the media. "Screw it. Defend yourself." Jones even offered to pay Machado's fine.
Machado will almost certainly be suspended for his part in the fracas, and it will be hard for the O's to lose their best player for an extended period of time. But it's almost worth it. With the brawl and the ensuing back-to-back home runs, the Orioles proved something: They're going to keep bashing the hell out of the ball and they're going to fight--though not always literally--the rest of the season to keep pace in a tight A.L. East race. And they're not taking shit from K.C. or anybody else, which is something the whole city should get behind.