Orioles third baseman Manny Machado charged the mound against Kansas City Royals Yordano Ventura in June in part because of a fundamental fear: that a pitch could keep him out of the game he loved.
"When somebody's throwing 99 [mph] at you, it's going to hurt," he said after the benches-clearing brawl at Camden Yards. "You can ruin someone's career."
But in that anger and resentment was a surprising sense of perspective. "Whatever happened, happened," he said, and he pledged to move on from the night.
When Ventura died in a Jan. 22 car crash in his native Dominican Republic, remembrances of the 25-year-old evoked his big fastball and the pitch's often troublesome deployment. There was the Machado brouhaha, the staredown with Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout and a couple of other dustups.
But bruises fade, tempers cool and players do indeed move on. Among the players who reached out to the Royals, offering their condolences in the wake of Ventura's shocking death, was Machado.
"Both those guys [Machado and Trout] reached out and made that sure we were all right," Kansas City first baseman Eric Hosmer told The Kansas City Star on Monday.
Royals manager Ned Yost said he wasn't surprised to hear that Machado and Trout had reached out: Compassion is as much a part of the game as competition.
"Everybody knows that this game is meant to be competed fiercely and hard," he said. "And our guys understand that. Mike Trout understands that. Because he competes just as hard. And so does Manny."