Machado’s first of many trips as a Padre to Valley brings expected boos
PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks fans might as well get used to booing San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado.
Machado signed a 10-year deal worth $300 million to keep him in the NL West for the foreseeable future.
The D-backs faithful got to know Machado in his short time as a Los Angeles Dodger, and with his national reputation already as a dirty player, it was no surprise to hear him booed louder and louder after every plate appearance on Friday.
As the greats in the game will do, though, he had two different moments in the game where he showed why he’s worth the money.
In the first, he fouled four straight pitches off D-backs starter Luke Weaver before homering to right.
The most fascinating of the two, however, was in the bottom of the eighth. Arizona catcher Carson Kelly hit a ball down the line and Machado’s job seemed done that he prevented a double.
There was simply too much of his momentum going to the opposite side he was throwing to. The risk, in fact, of committing an error in a one-run game makes it seem foolish to even try the throw. But somehow in one incredibly fluid motion, Machado turned his hips and fired.
The throw was an absolute laser but lofted enough in the air to be in control and right on target at first.
Watch how little Eric Hosmer has to move as he catches the ball.
On the first video above, you can hear the crowd audibly react to the play being made, the same crowd that was mercilessly booing him at all times.
A few seconds later, fans seemingly realized they were making noise for Machado and stopped, making it eerily quiet as everyone registered one of the best defensive plays they’ll ever see made live.
D-backs manager Torey Lovullo was asked about the strange moment, one he chuckled at as it was being recited back to him.
“It means you’re good when you walk into opposing territory and they boo you,” he said before Saturday’s game.
Lovullo told the story of Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia getting booed when he walked into New York restaurants and telling Lovullo he didn’t mind it because it meant he was a stud.
“The fans here understand that it’s a pretty special player that helped a team last year advance to the World Series,” Lovullo said of Machado.
While unprompted on the question, Lovullo said he doesn’t think Machado is a dirty player instinctually.
In his other three at-bats, Machado struck out, delighting the fans in attendance to some of their loudest cheers of the night.
There’s nothing quite like seeing a division rival’s biggest star fail in that fashion, especially when he’s already made his impact felt.