Column: Manufacturing hate

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Los Angeles Dodgers’ Manny Machado celebrates after Game 7 of the National League Championship Series baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018, in Milwaukee. The Dodgers won 5-1 to advance to the World Series. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

So, it’s Dodgers-Red Sox. Boston versus Los Angeles. One storied franchise against another. Sounds good, except that all throughout NLDS I was pulling for the small market Milwaukee Brewers.

Getting hyped for a World Series against those guys in blue should be easy, right? In some ways, yes, but in my mind any great competition contains some animosity and disdain. I will enjoy rooting for the Red Sox, but I would’ve derived even greater pleasure being able to root against the Dodgers.

Maybe that contempt will come, but as I look ahead, I struggle for straws to grasp at.

Manny Machado is easy to point at and say he’s a clown, especially with both his history with Red Sox legend Dustin Pedroia and his other recent antics. But for whatever reason my brother and I have been Machado fans for a long time now. His highlight real defense at third, his ability to rake and the fact he had made the Orioles a contender all endeared him to me a couple years ago. I was disappointed to see him shipped out west, and he has no doubt made a fool of himself on occasion, but hate him? I can see why you would, but personally, I won’t.

Yasiel Puig falls along the same lines as Machado. Commonly typecast as a villain, his flare upsets persnickety fans who see baseball as a game of stoicism for whatever reason. Puig is not infallible, but like Machado I started enjoying his game several years ago. The rocket arm, his passion for the game and his Cuban immigration story I all appreciate.

It’s hard out here for me, man. Rich Hill’s comeback story from castoff to old aged resurrection is one no one could poke holes at. But he is also the pride (I think?) of Milton, Massachusetts, where a young Daily Campus column writer was born and raised for a couple years and has always canonized.

Dave Roberts as the manager is a likeable guy who has done a good job at the helm. Much more importantly he is the main actor in one of the most heroic and dramatic moments in Red Sox postseason history.

Yeah, it’s hard for me to turn my shoulder on that guy.

Lastly, I’m a sucker for a good Moneyball story. I have always loved the machinations of the front office in sports. So Andrew Friedman charmed me a while ago when he turned the pitiful Rays into a young team of guys I was drawn to, and then I got to read about it in Jonah Keri’s book The Extra 2%. Their GM, Farhan Zaidi, comes from the home of Moneyball itself in Oakland, where he helped the A’s find a couple of blooming years in the early 2010s. I respect that.

I suppose I should hate Zaidi for selling out and shipping down to perceived bigger and better things in Hollywood. Look, there should be no doubt I am rooting for nothing less than a Red Sox sweep. But it was easy to call the Yankees a-holes and want to overcome the uber coalition of talent in Houston. I’m just not sure what my narrative is for the Dodgers. Maybe I’ll hate on the city itself (full of sellouts who left their homes and only pretend to look back. Looking at you, Bill Simmons.) Magic Johnson is an owner of the team and, well, screw that guy. I can be mad about the Bryan Stow incident.

But I do feel like I am grasping at straws here. I’m going to need to Boston Sports Talk Radio to fire me up. I love the vitriol behind the penultimate Boston chant “Yankees Suck!”, but in this series such distaste is lacking and the classic “Beat LA” will have to suffice. Sox in seven.


Matt Barresi is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at matthew.barresi@uconn.edu.

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