Charles Pierce, Party Pooper:
I am not opposed to Nice Happy Time Moments, per se. But that whole Nomar Garciaparra comedy show this morning stretches my inner Fred Rogers to the breaking point. Here's a guy, coming back for a one-day dumbshow so that he "can retire as a Red Sock," because that, apparently, has been a dream of his since shortly after he realized he couldn't get around on a major-league fastball any more. This is a guy whose presence in the Red Sox clubhouse lingered like a case of cholera for two years before they finally shipped him out of town, who openly loathed the team, but who, apparently having been visited last night by his Guardian Angel Clarence, now has decided that, glorioski, this was the bestest place he ever played.
I sincerely hope that, one day, Manny Ramirez, with whom the Red Sox won two more World Series championships than they did with Garciaparra, is struck by a similar revelation. If it happens, I'm sure the Red Sox will indulge him the same way. Yes, and I am the Tsar of all the Russias.
Hell hath no fury like a Boston sportswriter scorned. Fans, on the other hand, are easy. I'd bet a lot of money that most Sox fans would welcome a Manny retirement presser in Boston. Perhaps it's an issue of access. Beat writers and their ilk cover the team and get to know these people a lot better than we do. In many cases, that's not a good thing for the writers.
As to Pierce's point about Manny: Are their situations comparable? Maybe, but probably not. As an observer from the other side of the Rivalry, one of the lasting images I have of Garciaparra is of him sitting passively on the bench during that Jeter-Jumps-In-The-Stands-Bloodies-Face-We-All-Are-Saved! game in 2004. The rumors then were that he could play if he had wanted to. The trade that sent him to Chicago would not have happened if everything was good in the clubhouse. Manny's "antics", on the other hand, took place over a longer period and seemed a little more notable. There was even a shove or two, trade requests, accusations of fake injuries, and pissing in the Green Monster. The acrimony between player and members of the front office was and is probably more intense in the case of Manny probably because the history was longer. The Sox front office put up with Manny longer than they did with Nomar because they needed Manny a lot more, and Nomar's contract was a lot easier to move. Also, the feeling between Sox management and Nomar might be different from the feeling between front office and Manny because, well, Nomar and Manny are different people. And different people interact with other people in different ways. In other words, these things are personal.