More than a year removed from his infamous dust-up with the Red Sox, Manny Machado enters the World Series as the same villain with a different uniform.
Machado, dealt by the Orioles to the Dodgers in July, just wrapped up a contentious NLCS vs the Brewers. Machado first caused a stir with his questionable slide in Game 3, and then caused benches to clear when he kicked Jesus Aguilar's leg running through first base in Game 4.
— MLB Replay (@MLBReplays) October 16, 2018
ICYMI: Things got heated between Manny Machado and Jesús Aguilar late in Game 4 of the NLCS. pic.twitter.com/jz6HwCMaYw
— ESPN (@espn) October 17, 2018
When Machado stepped up for his first at-bat of Game 6 in Milwaukee, the boos at Miller Park were deafening. When he struck out in that same at-bat, the cheers were too loud for the shortstop to ignore. He waved on the crowd as he walked back to the dugout as if to admit without saying it that he enjoys being hated. That he has accepted his role as the antagonist.
That's what makes Machado vs the Red Sox in the World Series all the more intriguing. It's clear nothing has changed since the former Oriole slid into Dustin Pedroia's knee in May 2017.
Though the Brewers didn't retaliate after Machado's antics, the Red Sox might not be so forgiving if there's any funny business in this series. Matt Barnes, Chris Sale, and Eduardo Rodriguez all threw at Machado after his slide into Pedroia, causing Machado to go on a profanity-laden rant which included him saying, "I've lost my respect for that organization, that coaching staff and everyone over there."
If you wanted bad blood in this year's World Series, you got it. If you wanted a matchup between two historic, big-market franchises that have countless connections with one another, you got that too. Regardless of whether or not the fireworks involving Machado continue, this has all the makings of being an instant classic.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.