BALTIMORE (WJZ) — When former Orioles third baseman/shortstop Manny Machado signed a 10-year, $300 million contract with the San Diego Padres this offseason, many fans likely circled Tuesday’s date on the calendar.
For the first time since the team traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers last summer, Machado will make his return to the Charm City as the Padres come to town for a two-game interleague series.
For fans, the return of Machado brings with it a question. How will he be received?
Is he the homegrown star that fans still love, but understood was bound to be set free? Or will they shun him for his comments from earlier this year about Baltimore and the Orioles organization when he suggested the team “didn’t show me a little bit of love”?
Machado did provide six-and-a-half seasons of memorable moments for fans with his play at the hot corner and at the plate. In those six-plus years, Machado compiled 31 WAR which is good for 19th in franchise history.
He was one of the few constants on the team through the good (three playoff appearances in ’12, ’14, & ’16) and the bad (missed playoffs in ’13, ’15, & ’17).
In addition, he was a consistent member of the community, hosting an annual BaseBowl Tournament for charity that helped to renovate several fields and start youth baseball programs.
On the other hand, fans could be left with a bitter taste in their mouth after his departure and comments to Sports Illustrated. His recent antics that resulted in a one-game suspension after an altercation with an umpire may have also soured some fans.
With the first pitch in tonight’s game set for 7:05 at Camden Yards and Machado routinely hitting third in the Padres lineup, it will be interesting to see the reaction when he steps to the plate in the first inning.
If you’re attending the game, how do you plan to greet the former O?