Friday, August 1, 2008

In A Word, Pathetic.

C'mon now Diamond Notes. Even for a red pom-pom waver like Gammons, it's pretty comical to see such a corrosive report condemning Manny Ramirez considering how he [and the rest of ESPN] reveled in how the Manny Being Manny circus had served as a calming effect for Boston just last postseason.
At that time, the Sox were trailing Cleveland three games to one in the ALCS, when Ramirez was quoted as saying losing the series would "not [be] the end of the world." However, when Boston admirably ran off three straight wins on their way toward a second championship in four years, Manny's initially moronic comments had somehow metamorphized into an inspirational slogan.
See, when Manny's antics add up to a World Series trophy, he's the lovable dope who doesn't know any better. But, when the organization finally decides to banish the formerly lovable dope, now his actions become the indefensible behavior of a selfish clubhouse cancer. Where were you the last five years?
And as far as the threat of Ramirez possibly taking the rest of the Summer off had he not been dealt, why not take a look back at the conclusion of the 2006 season when a mysterious knee ailment [sound familiar?] allowed Ramirez to quit on his teammates. Apparently it's OK to bail on the team when they're bound for a third place finish in the AL East - as they were in '06 - but when Boston is in contention for a playoff spot - as they are in '08 - that's when Manny Being Manny becomes Manny being a malcontent.
The coup-de-grace for me was the steroid line of Gammons' column. Placing Manny's immaturity off the diamond on par with the most egregious cheaters of the game is about as palatable an idea as Wilson Betemit playing first base. Obviously, this Gammons piece has John Henry's fingerprints all over it. The Red Sox front office was happy to put a bullseye on Manny's back as he walked out Fenway's door, and, not surprisingly, Gammons was just as content to pick up the ammo from Theo Epstein before firing the killshot.
For all the times I've ripped Ramirez for his shenanigans as a Red Sox, I can at least point to my consistency. Though I always felt Manny's tendency to quit on his teammates or dog it on the basepaths would eventually take its toll on the rest of the team, I never questioned his unbelievable talent in the batter's box and I never dropped his name into the same category as steroid users like Bonds, McGwire or Giambi. One thing's for sure; July 31st, 2008 has become a holiday for Yankees fans and Yankees pitchers alike which is why It will also be interesting to see what impact not having Ramirez hitting behind him will have on David Ortiz.
Since we're on the topic of phonies, here's another unsurprising, unflattering, critique of Manny's Red Sox tenure. This one offered up by, who else, Curt Schilling during his weekly radio [via the Rob Neyer Blog]:

"At the end of the day you're taking the field with a guy who doesn't want to play with you, doesn't want to be there, doesn't want to … obviously effort-wise is just not there and that's disheartening and disappointing," Schilling said during his weekly appearance on Boston sports radio WEEI's Dennis and Callahan program."

"I enjoyed pitching with Pedro, but I watched Pedro for a year come and go as he pleased, and do whatever he pleased, from a schedule standpoint and to a point, All-Star break heading home and no one ever said a word …The things that Pedro said going out of town about Terry [Francona], that crushed me because of what I saw Tito do for him. Manny's the same way …"

Even when he's not with the team, Schilling finds a way to throw his hat into the ring. And why exactly would Red Sox fans want to hear from a guy who hasn't thrown a pitch all season and likely never will again?


Anonymous said...

Curt Schilling didn't have the decency to tell Pedro and Manny what he thought of them to their faces. He and PAPELBUM are two of a kind.
It's typical, classy Red Sox style to let Manny take all the blame.

Anonymous said...

just like with Pedro, Nomar, Damon, Clemens, Greenwell, etcetera