Manny Machado is a man on a mission

Credit: ESPN

Spread the love
Mandatory Credit: Ray Acevedo-USA TODAY Sports

San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado is a man on a mission.

The 2022 season is a year in which Manny Machado is coming out.

When the San Diego Padres signed Machado to the richest contract in the history of North American sports (at the time), they knew what they were getting. What they didn’t know is the All-Star third baseman would get better with age.

Like a fine wine, Machado is transforming into a baseball superstar.

Don’t get me wrong. The third baseman has always been considered one of the best players in the game since he broke into the league in 2012. However, with his time in San Diego, Machado has improved his OPS and OPS+ and is showing great overall maturity. Playing the game with passion had not been an issue for Machado in the past. His desire to win and be the best often got the best of him on the field. The incidents are well documented.

But as a Padre, the veteran third baseman has led with his actions and been very vocal to his younger teammates. Machado got in the face of Fernando Tatis Jr. last season in St. Louis as the young shortstop was showing frustration during a game. Machado repeatedly yelled, “It is not about you,” in the direction of Tatis. He has emerged as the team’s clear leader, even though Machado is soft-spoken about the topic.

Reports indicate that Machado has refused the captain’s title as he wants no accolades for his position as leader of the team. That may be the case, but his teammates appreciate his leadership skills. Korean-born Ha-Seon Kim is enjoying his time with Machado, who has gone out of his way to make Kim comfortable on the team. “Pretty much every day, every minute, he’s trying to help me out and trying to improve my game to play better,” Kim said. “So I want to do better because of him trying so hard to help me out. The guy never wants to quit. So that makes us play even harder, play better. He’s the captain for sure.”

Action speaks louder than words. Players can call themselves a captain, but it takes a real leader to put your head down and work. Being consistent with your actions and playing the game at an even keel is what Machado is mastering now. His calmness on the field on an everyday basis is helping young players understand the game. Manny Machado is going out of his way to claim a World Title. That is his ultimate goal.

Credit: USA Today Sports

Earlier this year, Machado spoke about the baseball season. “Honestly, for me, every single year is just the grind of the season,” Machado said. “How it wears you down, how it brings you up. You think you’re never gonna get a hit again, and then now you’re on fire. That’s the beauty for me every single year. It’s the wear and tear of knowing that I grinded through 160 games and, you know, you made it. You made it to the end.”

Earlier in the year, Machado sprained his ankle badly on first base while playing in Colorado. The All-Star refused to go on the IL. Ultimately, it took more than 10 games for Machado to return, but the effort he showed his teammates was priceless. He could have gone home and packed it up for a few weeks to mend. Instead, Machado worked each day to improve strength in the ankle, and more importantly, he was there with his teammates during the grind of a season. Never missing one game.

The love Machado has for the game is infectious. Each major league plays the game of baseball, but only a small fraction are considered baseball players. “This is the game we love,” Machado said. “Have a smile on your face every single day and try to leave it on the field every single day. That’s all we can control. This game is already hard enough. Lot of cameras, a lot of things that we have to adapt ourselves to, so, at the end of the day, it’s just about hitting a baseball, catching a baseball, getting some outs, and winning games for your ballclub. So just enjoy yourself to the fullest.” That type of attitude towards the game has helped Machado focus and get the most out of his talents.

The Padres are not playing well against their division rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Los Angeles has one eight straight series against the Padres and has taken 21 out of the last 25 games from San Diego. It is not even close. The Padres are not showing up against the Dodgers, and a quote from Machado says it all.  “Keep playing baseball,” Machado said, speaking after a Padres’ 4-0 loss at Dodger Stadium in early August. Sometimes things are out of your control, and all you can do is move forward. Manny Machado understands that.

[wpedon id=”49075″ align=”right”]

The career of Manny Machado has taken several twists and turns. He has gone from one of the biggest villains in the game to one of the most respected players. There will always be those who hold onto his past actions and hold them against him. So is life. But, if you watch Machado every day, you begin to see what he truly brings to a major league team. Machado is special and adored by his teammates.

 “I don’t think Manny can explain to guys what he does and how he does it,” pitcher Joe Musgrove said. “That’s what makes him Manny Machado.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *