Manny Fatigue

"I don’t want to talk to them about contracts right now. So what? Enough is enough. I’m tired of them. They’re tired of me, and after 2008, just send me a letter, whatever.

Manny Ramirez, Sunday.

It’s a general rule in presidential politics that voters develop fatigue — a deep-seated apathy, even a desire for change — after eight years of one president. It happened with Bill Clinton, who is generally considered a good president, and it’s happened with George W. Bush, who is generally considered a bad one, though history will render more final verdicts on both men in the decades to come. Only two presidents have ever survived this axiom: George Washington, the only president to voluntarily step aside after two terms, and Franklin Roosevelt, who died shortly after beginning his fourth — both considered among the greatest presidents to serve this country.

Manny Ramirez is no president, but Red Sox Nation is in its eighth year of the Ramirez administration, so to speak. Only Tim Wakefield has been here longer, and Wakefield is not the on-field leader Ramirez is. For eight years, Manny Ramirez has been the future-Hall-of-Fame cog in the Red Sox’ lineup. Although nothing is certain, it appears that is likely to end once this season is over.

I admit I have Manny fatigue. Eight years of drama, controversy, media-fueled overparsing of his every word and action … Ramirez has been treated by the Boston sportswriters much like Washington political reporters treat a sitting president (Was he where he should have been? Is he giving 100 percent? Is he corrupt — i.e., did he intentionally shirk his duty in important situations?). Through it all, I’ve grown a bit tired.

Tired of defending him, yes. I’ve been a big Manny defender. In some
ways, he’s the modern day Ted. Ripped by the press because he doesn’t
pay obeisance to the things the Boston sportswiters think he should.
His intelligence is generally underappreciated, even while his work
ethic and hitting prowess are legendary. He played an integral role in
doing twice what even Ted, Yaz, Jim Ed and Wade could not do even once.

I named my cat after Manny Ramirez. Named my female dog after David Ortiz (we got around the gender issue by naming her "Poppy"). Without Manny first in front of him then behind him, there is no Big Papi. There is no greatest 3-4 lineup combination in our lifetimes playing for the Red Sox. There’s no Yankee killer tattooing Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte. There’s no arms-raised, walk-off home run off Frankie Rodriguez, forever the Hall of Famer’s definitive moment in baseball, never mind just his time with the Red Sox. There’s no celebration of Home Run No. 300, or 400, or 500.

Then there’s the other stuff you must be heartless not to like: Visits into the Green Monster, high-fiving a fan in the middle of a catch-and-throw double play, dancing and fist-bumping with Orlando Cabrera, Pedro Martinez, David Ortiz. The crazy hair, a new ‘do every spring. The incredible comments when he does speak to the media: "I’m a bad man."

Yes, there’s a lot to love about Manny Ramirez — not least of which is the fact that he is third in RBI, fourth in home runs and second in OPS and OPS+ to Albert Pujols among all ballplayers with at least 5,000 plate appearances between 2001 and the present. No one will be calling Dan Duquett’e signing that December of 2000 a failure. Not now, not ever.

But there’s the rest. And what makes my feeling of Manny fatigue frustrating is that much of it is based on news reports or rumors I’ve found to have little credibility.

There’s the Gordon Edes hatchet job that essentially created and has since fueled the legend that Ramirez quit down the stretch in 2006 — a piece that ever since has tarnished that writer’s otherwise sterling image in my eyes. It was entirely unsourced, filled with innuendo and accusation, yet without any piece of evidence — or even logical deductions based on observation — to support it. The piece legitimized a rumor that, considering the dearth of evidence, should have remained exactly that.

There’s the Bob Lobel rumor-mongering on WEEI — in which he claimed the front office believed Ramirez took three straight strikes in a key at-bat from Mariano Rivera to retaliate for a "six-figure" fine levied for his shoving of the Red Sox’ traveling secretary. Lobel never even claimed to have a front-office source for his statements, was wildly off-base on the amount of the fine, and never explained why Ramirez would choose to protest a full week after the fine was levied and paid to charity — a week in which he hit well over .400.

Despite the lack of evidence, the utter inability of these reporters to ever verify the rumors they chose to report, the accusations linger, unfairly. They sit there, easily dismissed when all is smooth, not so easily brushed away when times are rocky. This is one of the rocky times.

Because there are things that we know are true, as well.

We know he called John Henry a "white devil" when the owner wouldn’t immediately accede to one of Ramirez’s many trade requests. We know about those, too. 2003, 2005, 2006. In between, he was placed on irrevocable waivers (no takers, as we well know). We know he slapped at Kevin Youkilis in the dugout. We know he is accused of shoving traveling secretary Jack McCormick. And while we’re not buying the anguished cries of those who seem to believe 64 years of life qualifies McCormick for a nursing home, it was an amazingly infantile act, quickly reinforcing the stereotype that Ramirez is nothing more than a very talented, very rich child playing a child’s game. It’s a stereotype I hate, yet one that is now harder to refute.

Which brings us back to fatigue. Yes, I’m tired of defending Manny Ramirez, but I’d be more than willing to do it — if it were worth doing. Now, I’m not sure. Now, I feel not so much fatigue at the idea of defending Manny. I feel fatigue at the idea of Manny himself, and all that entails.

It entails more rounds of bizarre and maddening comments — allegations that the Sox’ front office lies to its players, expressions that he’s "tired" of Boston, failing to communicate about injuries right before a key series with the Yankees. It entails more rounds of self-righteous columns from sports writers inexplicably angry about various slights, real and imagined, Ramirez has perpetrated against the game of baseball. And, worst of all, it entails inexcusable actions — as relatively unimportant as staring at a home run that winds up hitting the wall and being held to a single or failing to run out a ground ball that gets booted, or as serious as shoving a team employee or hitting a teammate.

I’m tired of that Manny. Sometimes I want him to go away. Time for a new administration. Jason Bay. Mark Teixeira. Shake his hand, thank him for all his work here, and let him get No. 600 elsewhere. Or "send (him) a letter," as Ramirez would apparently prefer.

But that’s only one side, isn’t it? As true as all that may be — and it’s as factual as I can surmise — it’s not the full picture.

Because "Manny" also entails terrific production — the man is fifth in on-base percentage, seventh in OPS, eighth in home runs and eighth in RBI this season; good luck finding that on the trade market without gutting the farm system. He’s given us 2004. He’s given us 2007. The odds are good he’ll have a "B" on his cap when his placque is engraved for Cooperstown. Anyone who thinks the Red Sox can survive without Manny Ramirez or an equal bat is sadly deluded, and the chances of getting an equal bat before the offseason are unlikely.

I may be tired of him. I may not love him anymore. I don’t think I even particularly like him after the events of this weekend. But he’s still our Manny. For better or worse, he’s wearing the laundry, and that means we root for him. Just like we’d root for Barry Bonds or Alex Rodriguez if they wound up in red and white.

No matter how tired Ramirez is of the Red Sox, or the Sox of him, they need each other if they want to play baseball this October. And that means we need him, too.

172 comments… add one
  • And what makes my feeling of Manny fatigue frustrating is that much of it is based on news reports or rumors I’ve found to have little credibility.
    As I’ve tried to say before, there’s obviously some segment of the Sox front office that has a real problem with Manny and identifies all sorts of seen and unseen sins. I wouldn’t be surprised if it goes as high as Lucchino. So the shoot the messenger strategy toward Edes and Lobel is off-base. All they were communicating was an attitude about Manny. And the only one who knows the accuracy of those reports could never dispute them or verify them, even if he talked to the English-speaking press. It’s an area where the reporting stands on its own in the ether.
    failing to communicate about injuries right before a key series with the Yankees.
    Wasn’t the MRI, and then it’s release, an obvious “show your cards” moment from management? And wasn’t Manny in the lineup the next two games?

    A YF July 28, 2008, 6:53 am
  • To quote Julio Lugo:
    “I’ve been here two years, I think I’m one of the guys closest with Manny. I’ve been closer to Manny than anybody else. As a friend I’m trying to defend him. He cares so much. He does so much to be ready. Sometimes things distract him. Things just came together. I don’t think he means anything. He [felt] real bad about the Jack [McCormick, the team’s traveling secretary] thing. He apologized to Jack and he apologized to [Kevin] Youkilis. Those things, nobody even mentioned that. I don’t think anybody mentioned that. Sometimes people misjudge him. People think he don’t care. That’s not the way it is. I think you guys should know that. He’s the first guy to come here, the only guy who gets up at 10 o’clock in the morning every day is Manny, to get set. It’s unfortunate that things like that happen. He shouldn’t be doing that stuff. He’s a mature guy. He understands he made a mistake. Just move on, ask for forgivenness, like he should, and move on.”
    As Surviving Grady says, who ever thought Lugo would be the voice of reason?

    Atheose July 28, 2008, 9:33 am
  • Nice post, Paul. I assume that Manny is not getting traded anywhere this season. As SF put it in another thread, he’d go for pennies on the dollar, and the Sox are too smart a franchise to deal him for that in the middle of a pennant race. If they are indeed tired of Manny and want him gone, they’ll just have to wait a couple of months to say goodbye. Don’t pick up his option, offer him arbitration which he and Boras will not accept, and get their draft picks. I’m guessing if they trade him now, they might not get a package that is even as attractive as that option. So this whole trading stance seems a bit like posturing, which Manny basically called them out on in his recent comments.

    Nick-YF July 28, 2008, 9:34 am
  • As SF put it in another thread, he’d go for pennies on the dollar, and the Sox are too smart a franchise to deal him for that in the middle of a pennant race.
    Yeah, this is the same sort of thing we had several years ago; we’d like to get rid of him but we won’t get equal value in return and we can’t afford to lose his bat. Can you imagine Ortiz getting pitched around without Manny batting behind him? Scandalous.
    Here’s a list of 2009 potential free agents:
    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2007/12/2009-mlb-free-a.html
    At first glance Pat Burrel, Milton Bradley and Adam Dunn look like the only ones who could make up most of Manny’s power, and Bradley hasn’t been consistent with his production throughout his career. We could always trade for a player like Holliday, but do we want to give up the minor leaguers? This is going to be a tricky off-season.
    I’d love for the Sox to pick up Manny’s option, but it sounds like he’ll throw a hissy fit if they do that rather than extend his contract.

    Atheose July 28, 2008, 9:45 am
  • On second glance, Burrell hasn’t been very consistent with his power either. I like Dunn as an option though.

    Atheose July 28, 2008, 9:47 am
  • “Anyone who thinks the Red Sox can survive without Manny Ramirez or an equal bat is sadly deluded,”
    I’m not quite sure about the accuracy of this statement, either in the short or long term.
    It’s hard for me not to look at this in some kind of broader perspective. We live in a society where the privileged, and star athletes in particular, always get a pass. We accept it until some line is crossed and we don’t–some unspoken compact is broken. The guys who break that compact are villified.

    YF July 28, 2008, 9:48 am
  • I’m not quite sure about the accuracy of this statement, either in the short or long term.
    The problem is that when Manny goes Ortiz will struggle too because pitchers won’t have to pitch to him. Drew isn’t likely to consistently produce in the long-term and Lowell is going to slowly regress; granted Manny has been regressing but his numbers, despite being career lows, are still some of the best in the league. We could “survive” I suppose, but it would be extremely difficult.

    Atheose July 28, 2008, 9:54 am
  • Wow, I feel like Joe Morgan; I’ve mentioned “consistency” in each of my last 3 posts. Shoot me now.

    Atheose July 28, 2008, 9:55 am
  • Reading through the reax this morning, I am definitely more inclined to agree with SG, Joy of Sox and Chad Finn than Tony Mazz, Steve Buckley and Dan Shaughnessy.
    But this isn’t really a matter of who I rationally agree with. I’m just tired of it all. That may not be Manny’s fault (though some of it definitely is. I mean, one thing the defenders don’t mention is the obvious disgust the front office and his teammates were quoted as having. That’s a first, and it seems to indicate a lot). It just is. Still gonna root for the booger though.

    Paul SF July 28, 2008, 9:57 am
  • Ath: The “protection” argument, I think, has been demonstated as a fallacy by various sabermetric thinkers, including Bill James. The prejudice against Drew seems unjustified to me.
    Yankee fans don’t need to look back too far in history to realize that a solid order producting top to bottom can be extremely effective, even if it’s missing a superstar masher in the middle.

    YF July 28, 2008, 10:01 am
  • The prejudice against Drew seems unjustified to me.
    I don’t think I was being unfair to Drew; I’ve always been a defender of him, and just feel that at 32 his offensive plateau is about to end. I have no stats to back that up, I just don’t see him continuing to do well for very long.

    Atheose July 28, 2008, 10:09 am
  • If Manny is traded, I’m guessing the Sox get a prospect package and maybe a middle-reliever who can help the pen now. The offensive drop felt in left field would be pretty significant, but not fatal, given the team’s depth and the assumed improvement on defense and run prevention (again, a bullpen arm could help a lot), so maybe they could survive.
    But I don’t think a deal is happening, but potentially it will.

    Nick-YF July 28, 2008, 10:10 am
  • a solid order producting top to bottom can be extremely effective, even if it’s missing a superstar masher in the middle.
    The Sox do not currently have this, and pulling together the pieces to make one, even for next season, would likely be more difficult — and potentially more costly — than ponying up for a hitter of Manny’s caliber, or Manny himself.

    Paul SF July 28, 2008, 10:16 am
  • By trading him the Sox can certainly get more than the two picks they’d get if he left as a free agent. Beltran, for instance. The Dodgers could offer a nice package of prospects. The D’backs too.
    And the money for an extension is no object – every team in baseball can afford Manny if they choose. Just watch the market this off-season.

    A YF July 28, 2008, 10:18 am
  • Yankee fans don’t need to look back too far in history to realize that a solid order producting top to bottom can be extremely effective, even if it’s missing a superstar masher in the middle.
    The problem is that having Manny in the lineup makes up for other black holes, specifically ‘Tek, Lugo and our center fielder.

    Atheose July 28, 2008, 10:18 am
  • Catcher and shortstop should be much bigger worries for the Sox going forward. An decent OF bat with poor defense is much more readily available, maybe even in the system (Carter, Lars).

    A YF July 28, 2008, 10:22 am
  • The offensive drop felt in left field would be pretty significant, but not fatal, given the team’s depth and the assumed improvement on defense and run prevention (again, a bullpen arm could help a lot), so maybe they could survive.
    Exactly. Which SF here wouldn’t take Matt Kemp and Jonathan Broxton?

    Anonymous July 28, 2008, 10:25 am
  • me

    Awfulperson YF July 28, 2008, 10:30 am
  • Matt Kemp is going to be a superstar in a year or two; I’m huge on him. Don’t know much about Broxton, though a quick glance at Baseball-Reference has me intrigued.

    Atheose July 28, 2008, 10:30 am
  • What leverage do the Sox have in trade negotiations? They have an outfielder who, whether true or not, has complained of knee problems and has been difficult with the front office. Why would this yield anyone who was going to help the Sox now? My guess is that the Sox are more likely to get Ramon Castro than Carlos Beltran from the Mets.

    Nick-YF July 28, 2008, 10:32 am
  • “the only guy who gets up at 10 o’clock in the morning every day is Manny, to get set”.
    I’m sorry – is this supposed to be incredibly impressive?
    As for the fatigue with Manny and the lines that star athletes sometimes cross, I’m sorry if I am a bit cynical, but I think if Manny weren’t on the decline-side of his career, SFs and the Sox front office would not feel so fatigued, and 9 times out of 10, the only line that really gets crossed with such misfit stars is that their performance inevtiably drops late in tehir careers.
    If Manny were having an MVP season in ’08, I don’t think this post goes up. I’m sorry Paul – that’s just my view of watching years of Manny’s antics slide. When you say that you would continue to defend him “if it was worth doing”, the only calculus by which I understand that worthiness to be measured is on-field performance.
    The Sox and their fans have been thrilled to have Manny on the team for almost a decade of his other-wordly offensive production. I think he has done nothing this year out of the ordinary (for him that is) other than have career lows in many offensive categories. Suddenly people are tired of defending him and the front office feels some kind of line has been crossed that was somehow not crossed with the “white devil” comment and the years of infantile behavior.
    I feel like Captain Renault has just burst into Rick’s Cafe to exclaim “I’m shocked, shocked to learn there is gambling going on in here!”, just before the maitre’d hands him his winnings from the night. In Sox land, those winnings are two WC rings, and I think if people felt he was the best shot at a 3rd, the Manny-defense would be as strong as ever.
    And to put A-Rod in the category of Barry “law-breaking get-me-my-personal-E-Z-chair-and-two-adjacent-lockers” Bonds or even physically-abusive-to-a-senior-citizen, sometimes-dog-it-on-the-field, always-admire-your-shot Manny is silly.

    IronHorse (yf) July 28, 2008, 10:34 am
  • I still think Crisp + Manny for Beltran is a good deal for both sides. Playing Beltran in left and Els in center. With Moss as a 4th. Although, that’s no right handed bat off the bench (Bobby where are you?). That really fills some needs for both teams. (the “need” to get Manny somewhere else, and in part replace his production – the need of the mets for a LF and a CF replacement with the trade). If you look at their whole game, would Beltran’s run prevention make up for his lower OPS – and call it even in the offensive department?

    dw (sf) July 28, 2008, 10:34 am
  • They have an outfielder who, whether true or not, has complained of knee problems and has been difficult with the front office.
    Don’t forget the most expensive outfielder in the majors!

    Atheose July 28, 2008, 10:35 am
  • To be fair, they’ve been saying that about Kemp for at least two years now. He might never pan out, but he’s well worth that risk.
    I’m not sure if the Dodgers would give up both, but their system is so deep, they surely have another bullpen arm. If I was advising the Sox front office, I’d suggest a kid named Scott Proctor.

    A YF July 28, 2008, 10:35 am
  • “I’m sorry if I am a bit cynical, but I think if Manny weren’t on the decline-side of his career, SFs and the Sox front office would not feel so fatigued, and 9 times out of 10, the only line that really gets crossed with such misfit stars is that their performance inevtiably drops late in tehir careers.”
    Brilliant, IH!

    Nick-YF July 28, 2008, 10:37 am
  • but I think if Manny weren’t on the decline-side of his career, SFs and the Sox front office would not feel so fatigued
    I agree 100%, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I think I’m on record as having said that Manny could be decapitating Quincy hookers for all I care as long as he’s OPS+’ing 140.

    Atheose July 28, 2008, 10:39 am
  • To be fair, they’ve been saying that about Kemp for at least two years now. He might never pan out, but he’s well worth that risk.
    I agree, he’s not a 100% sure-thing but I believe he’ll do well. And he did OPS+ 125 last season, with a BA of .342. This is the first full season he’s had as a Dodger, so we’ll get more accurate data from here on out.

    Atheose July 28, 2008, 10:40 am
  • “I still think Crisp + Manny for Beltran is a good deal for both sides.”
    It’s an interesting deal, but it seems to me the Mets would be doing a lot of running in place with this deal. The total return (the significant offensive upgrade in left, the offensive downgrade in center, the minor defensive upgrade in center, the tragic defensive downgrade in left) doesn’t seem like a definite upgrade. Add the fact that Beltran’s contract going forward is actually good for someone of his skillset (he is very underrated in NYC, I believe), and Manny’s many injury issues and I don’t see why the Mets do this.

    Nick-YF July 28, 2008, 10:41 am
  • “I think I’m on record as having said that Manny could be decapitating Quincy hookers for all I care as long as he’s OPS+’ing 140.”
    I think I heard this line from Mitt Romney in one of the primary debates. Get your own material, Ath!

    Nick-YF July 28, 2008, 10:42 am
  • Wait, really Nick? I swear I didn’t steal it from him if that’s true!

    Atheose July 28, 2008, 10:44 am
  • “What leverage do the Sox have in trade negotiations?”
    Well, he’s hitting .302/.400/.531 – there are few hitters, if any, available at those rates. And it’s a short commitment or a short extension. Plus, he’ll put butts in the seats, especially for the Dodgers.

    A YF July 28, 2008, 10:46 am
  • “And to put…”
    I was going to bring this up, but I let it pass :)

    A YF July 28, 2008, 10:48 am
  • Atheose, you have been clear on that point and I totally believe your sincerity on that. What I am objecting to, whether from sfs, the Boston sports media, or the Sox front office is any pretense that NOW Manny has done something behavior-wise that is somehow worse than everything before it and so this is somehow the straw that broke the camel’s back and he must go. The only reason he goes, if he does go, is that his present and expected future performance on the field is worse than it has been and so, having gotten the best performance years out of him while ignoring all behavioral issues both on and off the field, they want him out. To portray it as having anything at all to do with standards of decency or behavior that the team supposedly has and that he has supposedly crossed simply doesn’t stand up to any scrutiny.

    IronHorse (yf) July 28, 2008, 10:49 am
  • Plus, he’ll put butts in the seats, especially for the Dodgers.
    The Dodgers have the 3rd highest attendance per game this year.
    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/attendance

    Atheose July 28, 2008, 10:49 am
  • “”I still think Crisp + Manny for Beltran is a good deal for both sides.”
    In theory, but I don’t see why the Sox would take on Beltran’s contract.

    Anonymous July 28, 2008, 10:50 am
  • “…just send me a letter, whatever…”
    uh, i’ll write the letter
    “…Just like we’d root for Barry Bonds or Alex Rodriguez if they wound up in red and white….”
    wow, bb and arod in the same class…uh, you probably didn’t mean it that way paul, but in my book, arod and manny are far more likeable and “rootable”, despite their kooky quirks, than barry ever was…by all accounts he is very unlikeable and i’d probably have to close my eyes and hold my nose to root for him…luckily, it would appear that neither of us will have to do that…

    dc July 28, 2008, 10:51 am
  • What I am objecting to, whether from sfs, the Boston sports media, or the Sox front office is any pretense that NOW Manny has done something behavior-wise that is somehow worse than everything before it and so this is somehow the straw that broke the camel’s back and he must go.
    I agree, but think that it’s more the media than the front office. Shaughnessy and company are the ones screaming for Manny’s head; the only news we’ve gotten from the Front Office regarding the issue is hearsay from Lobel, and the fact that Theo has shopped Manny around.
    The Front Office has always been somewhat annoyed by Manny’s antics, and have always shopped him around before the trade deadline when Manny seems unhappy. The only difference this year is that the media is making a bigger deal about it. I’ve said several times that I don’t really care about the Youk fight or shoving the secretary, and everyone on the team and in the FO have said that these are non-issues. The media is the one blowing everything out of proportion with regards to “OMG Manny must go!!!!!111oneoneone”

    Atheose July 28, 2008, 10:54 am
  • “The Dodgers have the 3rd highest *home* attendance per game this year.”
    Shocking! And they still have room to improve.

    A YF July 28, 2008, 10:55 am
  • “””I still think Crisp + Manny for Beltran is a good deal for both sides.”
    In theory, but I don’t see why the Sox would take on Beltran’s contract.”
    Because he’s 31, plays a good defense, is used to the media frenzy, and is good at the plate. is 18.5 to much? I don’t know, would have to do the math i suppose.

    dw (sf) July 28, 2008, 10:56 am
  • For the record, Mitt Romney did not say that. He did mention decapitating hookers though, which is probably why he lost.

    Nick-YF July 28, 2008, 10:59 am
  • Manny DH’ing in the Bronx next year?

    krueg July 28, 2008, 11:00 am
  • “I agree, but think that it’s more the media than the front office. ”
    Nah, it’s been that way for years now. I agree with IH – the team is being more vocal now than they’ve ever been. The waivers was one put up or shut up moment. But this MRI thing is something else entirely because it directly affected a game being played. And the final score of that game was 1-0.

    A YF July 28, 2008, 11:00 am
  • I don’t think Paul was comparing A-Rod to either players in terms of their behavior. I just think he was making the case that no matter how unpopular a player seems to a certain fanbase, ultimately that fanbase comes around when he plays on their team. It’s true, after all, that A-Rod is not very popular in Boston.

    Nick-YF July 28, 2008, 11:02 am
  • “is 18.5 too much?”
    For his above average, but not excellent, offense it is, especially for four more years.

    A YF July 28, 2008, 11:03 am
  • I am surprised to see the interest in Beltan here. At least from living in NY and seeing the guy covered daily, his performance in the clutch has not impressed and he has too often done inexplicable things like trying to bunt his way on with RISP, the game on the line, and much weaker hitters to follow him. In short, he never developed into the big threat he was brought in to be and people STILL reference his extraordinary performance in the playoffs years ago when he was with the Astros as proof that he has what it takes. He very well might, but it really hasn’t showed itself in New York.
    Atheose, on Manny I thought I had read from more Sox-informed people than I that the FO and even players had had enough and I read Paul’s post – perhaps incorrectly – as saying he has gotten to the point of having had enough. These are the things to which I responded, but I get your point that much of the former may be more of a media creation.

    IronHorse (yf) July 28, 2008, 11:04 am
  • I don’t understand how anyone can begrudge the guy after all he has done for the Sox…yet, I also understand how his antics could get old. Hmmmm…this is a quandry. No way they trade him.

    krueg July 28, 2008, 11:09 am
  • Again on the “media” –
    The team sent him for an MRI after he asked out of a game. Then *they* released the results.
    There is no confusion about the FO’s intent. And it worked for Saturday and Sunday – two games where they needed him least.
    This recent hubbub is boiling over from the FO.

    A YF July 28, 2008, 11:15 am
  • I will start by saying this…I like my baseball drama free. It’s part of the reason Alex drives me nuts. While he has never become physical with a team employee, he has had similar issues to Manny during his time in NY (Contract issues, Madonna, his wife’s shirt, HA!, Blonde Woman, I wake up at 6 am comments and so on) They are both magnets for controversy and they are also clearly each of our team’s best players. To Alex’s credit though he has never asked out of a game or done any ‘Alex Being Alex’ stuff. My real point is that both player’s off the field drama has to grate on the overall attitude of the team. The problem is in and Manny’s case I believe the thing that pushes people/teammates over the edge is the on the field antics, in addition to the off the field stuff. Manny is Being Manny from too many different angles. Alex, while equally drama filled, has never brought said drama onto the field. (With the exception of the “Slappy McBluelips” Play, which was an attempt at winning, not tomfoolery) Julio Lugo or LFRS as SF calls him, can say whatever he’d like Manny’s antics are not good for that team. He’s a distraction to an extremely professional team. I think that became evident when he and Youk went at it. I am not in the clubhouse and I am certainly not a Sox fan, but it appears that Manny’s time has come to move on. The core of this Sox team is nothing like Manny, those players are gone (Damon, Millar, etc…) These current Sox are very business like, a la the Yankees of the 90’s. Drew, Lowell, Youk, Varitek, etc…
    Now, I don’t think the Sox are better on the field without Manny. I also think they can probably still win with his antics, but just looking at Francona last night he looks like the drama is finally taking it’s toll.

    John - YF July 28, 2008, 11:16 am
  • Beltran’s first year with the Mets, which was affected by injury, was admittedly a disappointment. But he’s been a top 5 centerfielder for the Mets since then. In 2006, he was tied with Sizemore as the best centerfielder in baseball. The year after, he was in the top 4, and this year he’s in the top 4. He does everything well, but, perhaps, he doesn’t do anything great, which, I believe makes him underrated. In any case, given what centerfielders get on the open market these days (Tori Hunter, Andruw Jones, Juan Pierre, Johnny Damon), I think his is a pretty decent contract. I’m confident he won’t be traded for Manny and his hurting (or unhurting) knee.

    Nick-YF July 28, 2008, 11:21 am
  • “…It’s true, after all, that A-Rod is not very popular in Boston….”
    precisely because he jilted them and wound up on the #1 rival, nick….remember all the hub-bub?

    dc July 28, 2008, 11:23 am
  • “precisely because he jilted them and wound up on the #1 rival, nick….remember all the hub-bub?”
    that certainly is one, if not the major, reason. Also he’s played some games against them since…
    The point was that I don’t think Paul was equating his behavior with Bonds are Manny.

    Nick-YF July 28, 2008, 11:25 am
  • John –
    Let’s be perfectly, 100% clear: A-Rod’s case is entirely the media. He really does sell newspapers. “Blond woman” is a perfect example. When’s the last time you heard about a player with a stripper on the road via the backpage?
    Meanwhile, the Ha! I found hilarious. The Arroyo slap was wrong. But that’s the only time, in his career, the guy hasn’t played the game the right way. Now watch a SF here take that out of context. But I put much more weight into the fact that he would have been the greatest shortstop that ever lived, then he moved to 3B for an inferior one.
    As for a comparison with Manny, I have never heard of A-Rod that:
    a) He loafs in the field
    b) He loafs running the bases
    c) He asks out of games
    d) He reports mysterious injuries right before gametime
    e) He slapped a teammate
    f) He assaulted a team employee (for tix nonetheless)
    Let’s drop the BS comparisons…

    A YF July 28, 2008, 11:26 am
  • “precisely because he jilted them and wound up on the #1 rival, nick….remember all the hub-bub?”
    Exactly. Some will mention Arroyo, but that’s exceedingly minor. I remember Pedroia throwing an elbow to Cano, and Lowell running him over, and they’ll soon be forgotten – as they should be.

    Anonymous July 28, 2008, 11:32 am
  • “To Alex’s credit though he has never asked out of a game or done any ‘Alex Being Alex’ stuff.”
    “The problem is in and Manny’s case I believe the thing that pushes people/teammates over the edge is the on the field antics, in addition to the off the field stuff.”
    I thought I was fairly clear.

    John - YF July 28, 2008, 11:33 am
  • he didn’t “jilt” them at all – the Player’s Union did.

    Brad July 28, 2008, 11:38 am
  • right, Brad, but the fans don’t necessarily see it that way. People are not always the most informed.
    By the way, per Sean McAdam, Manny will waive his no-trade clause if the team he’s traded to agrees to decline his option at the end of the year. He’s a two-month rental then. Trade accordingly. Beltran is not coming through that door.

    Nick-YF July 28, 2008, 11:43 am
  • “I thought I was fairly clear.”
    Not enough. Sorry!
    “he didn’t “jilt” them at all – the Player’s Union did.
    To be clear, the Sox FO failed to seal the deal too. But do you really think most SFs want to understand the distinction?

    A YF July 28, 2008, 11:43 am
  • “Beltran is not coming through that door.”
    But Matt LaPorta?
    The Sox can get a decent package, even for a rental.

    A YF July 28, 2008, 11:44 am
  • anon: pedroia has been known to slap as well.
    http://www.waswatching.com/archives/SlappySox.jpg
    i defended rodriguez (although i still say he should have just plowed over arroyo) and i will defend pedroia on his play. you want to bust up the play, but the methods used in either case could have been better.

    Yankee Fan In Boston July 28, 2008, 11:45 am
  • Perhaps Manny’s best quote from yesterday, “I don’t care where I play. I could even play in Iraq if need be”, opens the trade possibilities much much further than previous thought. Manny Ramirez for Moqtada al-Sadr would seem a win-win for all concerned.

    IronHorse (yf) July 28, 2008, 11:46 am
  • The “Jilting” and subsequent move to the Yanks might have been the start of it, but I thought the opt-out announcement one inning before the Red sox wrapped up 2007 went a long way towards cementing his reputation with the sox fans.

    Dan July 28, 2008, 11:49 am
  • “…he didn’t “jilt” them at all…”
    yeah, i know the technicality that the players union wouldn’t approve the deal, but that didn’t spare arod from villian status by going to a rival team…maybe the real villian was the front office asking him to take a pay cut that ultimately killed the deal…my only point, since i was unclear is that comparing arod’s kookiness to barry, with his much more despicable flaws was a big stretch…

    dc July 28, 2008, 11:50 am
  • “Moqtada being Moqtada” has a nice ring to it. I say go for it!

    Nick-YF July 28, 2008, 11:50 am
  • “…cementing his reputation with the sox fans. …”
    the cement was already poured dan…the opt out announcement merely helped harden it

    dc July 28, 2008, 11:51 am
  • How ’bout this: Manny for Gardner? Kid’s a gamer, and Manny’s a natch in NYC.
    Get to it Cash and Theo!

    YF July 28, 2008, 11:52 am
  • Yeah, Dan, lots of SFs were ambivalent about A-Rod before the 2007 series.

    A YF July 28, 2008, 11:54 am
  • I like it Nick. Let’s start printing shirts.

    IronHorse (yf) July 28, 2008, 11:55 am
  • “Beltran being Beltran” is okay, but I really like “Vladdy being Vladdy.” Anyone else? Anyone?
    Shucks.

    Atheose July 28, 2008, 12:00 pm
  • Saltalamacchia being Saltalamacchia.
    catchy.

    Dan July 28, 2008, 12:03 pm
  • Shorten it to Salty being Salty and you’re on to something Dan!

    Atheose July 28, 2008, 12:04 pm
  • Saltalamacchia is the longest name in mlb history. Right?

    Nick-YF July 28, 2008, 12:06 pm
  • Manny isn’t going anywhere. This, like all his other crap in the past, will blow over.
    I like Manny a lot, I find him extremely entertaining. I wish he didn’t bring all this baggage, but I’m at peace with.
    Also, let’s put to bed the lie about him taking lots of days off, it’s simply not true.
    I’m not defending his actions, I don’t like the way he behaves, it’s totally inappropriate.

    LocklandSF July 28, 2008, 12:07 pm
  • f) He assaulted a team employee (for tix nonetheless)
    “While he has never become physical with a team employee, he has had similar issues to Manny during his time in NY.” – Me
    a) He loafs in the field
    b) He loafs running the bases
    c) He asks out of games
    d) He reports mysterious injuries right before gametime
    “To Alex’s credit though he has never asked out of a game or done any ‘Alex Being Alex’ stuff.” – Me
    “Alex, while equally drama filled, has never brought said drama onto the field.” – Me
    Let’s drop the BS comparisons…
    A completely unecessary and off base comment. If you would have read the comment in full you would have seen everything I JUST pointed out. I go back to my statements from last night, you make this site unenjoyable to me and that’s sad considering I’m a moderator. I have tried every angle with you and STILL you take things out of context for the simple purpose of been a flame thrower. You don’t need to agree with me, I am not that arrogant, but at least when you are trying to prove me wrong use facts and read what I wrote, that’s all.
    Sorry Mods. I just hate being baited.

    John - YF July 28, 2008, 12:11 pm
  • According to MLB trade rumors the Yankees contacted the Rangers regarding Salty and Laird but talks went nowhere. But they are saying both are being shopped. I would imagine this has to do with the emergence of Chris Davis and the Rangers realizing that Salty may be a 1Bman after all rather than a C.

    John - YF July 28, 2008, 12:13 pm
  • is any pretense that NOW Manny has done something behavior-wise that is somehow worse than everything before it and so this is somehow the straw that broke the camel’s back and he must go.
    For the record, I don’t make either of these points in my post. It’s a cumulative effect, not that the most recent troubles are in any way worse than the ones before it. Is it because his production is down? Maybe so. Perhaps it’s easier to take a lot of crap from a player when his production makes that crap worth it. Manny’s production isn’t what it used to be, and that does change the formula.
    However, it’s wron to say that Manny’s antics only now have worn on the nerves of fans and the front office, and to tie that to production only. Manny’s been booed at Fenway before, and the FO has tried to trade and/or release him before, both when he was slamming 40 homers a year. That doesn’t jive with the “It’s only a problem because his numbers aren’t as good” argument.

    Paul SF July 28, 2008, 12:14 pm
  • Salty is an interesting player that could be a good fit for the Yanks. IPK and another prospect for him?

    Nick-YF July 28, 2008, 12:15 pm
  • “Also, let’s put to bed the lie about him taking lots of days off, it’s simply not true”
    Why didn’t he play on Friday?
    John – I also said A-Rod’s off-field antics *are* a media creation. You didn’t seem too concerned about responding to that “context”. The tone of your comment was different. I responded to the tone – just as you have.
    Meanwhile, I already offered an apology to you above. Funny but I don’t expect the same.

    A YF July 28, 2008, 12:16 pm
  • Not enough. Sorry!
    There you go. Now we have both offered what you call an “apology.”
    “Salty is an interesting player that could be a good fit for the Yanks.”
    I agree Nick. He could help spell Molina through the end of the season, then next year be the everyday 1Bman when Posada comes back. Catchers are funny creatures (See Jesus Montero, Chris Iannetta, JD Closser) some develop slower than others, some grow too much to be catchers. I think the Rangers were lucky to get more than just Salty from the Braves in that deal.

    John - YF July 28, 2008, 12:23 pm
  • As I recall, the Rangers wanted a mint from the Sox just for Gerald Laird. I can’t imagine what they’d want for Saltalamacchia.

    Paul SF July 28, 2008, 12:25 pm
  • MLB Trade Rumors said they want a ML ready arm.

    John - YF July 28, 2008, 12:26 pm
  • Sure, John, but let’s look at the two instances shall we? I called the *comparison* BS, especially because you weren’t the only one making it.
    By contrast you called *me* names and made it personal.
    Somehow I think I should be more offended…. If I were to follow the “mature” path of many moderators here, you’d be on ignore mode from now on.
    Next time, how about not making it personal? I didn’t.

    A YF July 28, 2008, 12:28 pm
  • then Carl Pavano it will be!

    Nick-YF July 28, 2008, 12:29 pm
  • you’d be on ignore mode from now on.
    Damn, John. How’d you pull that one off? Can you teach me how to get on ignore mode, too?

    Paul SF July 28, 2008, 12:30 pm
  • “Damn, John. How’d you pull that one off? Can you teach me how to get on ignore mode, too?”
    I’ll have what he’s having.

    Dan July 28, 2008, 12:33 pm
  • “By contrast you called *me* names and made it personal.”
    Please for my own sanity show me where I called you names? I am 33, not 5. I do no such thing. I done with you, as I should have been 20 minutes ago. I let you bait me.
    Paul, my computer has had him on ignore for quite some time. I will email you the necessary formula. Unfortunately it’s not fool proof.

    John - YF July 28, 2008, 12:35 pm
  • Nick, tell Cash to use the same sales pitch his agent did when we signed him a few years back. He’s a horse, he’s a young live arm…and so on. We also have Igawa if Pavano alone will not land us Salty.

    John - YF July 28, 2008, 12:37 pm
  • Damn, John. How’d you pull that one off? Can you teach me how to get on ignore mode, too?
    You end up weeding them out of your vision, like pop-up ads! Sort of like a mental callus.

    Atheose July 28, 2008, 12:38 pm
  • I read your entire post where did I do this “By contrast you called *me* names.” Again you have yet to show me where I called you names.
    It is personal A, there’s no way around that. You piss a lot of regulars off and a lot of Mods off, something no other regular does. You can play the martyr all you’d like, you know what you do and so does everyone else around here.

    John - YF July 28, 2008, 12:56 pm
  • John – can you jump over and approve the fantasy stuff so I can get it done before going fishing today?
    Thanks, man.

    Brad July 28, 2008, 12:57 pm
  • Regrettably I am having to go into edit mode again today. If you have questions, email me directly.

    attackgerbil July 28, 2008, 12:58 pm
  • Will do Brad, my apologies.
    To all,
    I am sorry for engaging him. I took the bait and I look weak for doing so. I apologize to Paul for upsetting the flow of his post.
    John

    John - YF July 28, 2008, 12:59 pm
  • Kind of changing the subject a little but is anyone else as nauseous as I am at the prospect of another series against the Angels starting tonight? I was blessedly off camping the entire weekend so I missed everything (Manny drama and actual baseball) except the last 4 innings of last night’s game.

    rootbeerfloat July 28, 2008, 1:05 pm
  • *Slams head against wall*
    I once ended up at a party where all the people were people who didn’t like me. They were discussing soap or some such thing. I am interested in soap. I opined. They then made fun of me. I was hurt. My feelings were really hurt. I left the party and went to another one where people liked me and responded positively about my insights into soap (the good ones smell the best, for instance). I was happy at that party and never returned to the other party.

    Nick-YF July 28, 2008, 1:09 pm
  • RBF –
    Not me. I think they keep the ball rolling tonight. Well, I hope they do anyhow.ha.
    Plus, I’ve taken the “I don’t really care as long as Manny is still on the Red Sox” attitude for the the rest of this year.
    I’d rather lose without him than have a real interest in winning with him.
    But, that shouldn’t come as surprise to anyone here.

    Brad July 28, 2008, 1:10 pm
  • I think that’s a good philosophy to have Nick, and one that is common sense for most people. Or at least should be.

    Atheose July 28, 2008, 1:10 pm
  • ok, now back to baseball. I am psyched that the Sox are playing the Angels tonight. But I worry that the Yanks are in for a letdown against the O’s.

    Nick-YF July 28, 2008, 1:11 pm
  • Excellent, Nick.

    Brad July 28, 2008, 1:11 pm
  • RBF, I’m actually happy to play the Angels tonight but only because it’s at Fenway. I think we’ll get a good amount of payback in tonight, as well as knock those bloody LA’ers down a peg or two.

    Atheose July 28, 2008, 1:11 pm
  • pitching matchup tonight looks to favor the sox. Interesting match-up in Baltimore – that Guthrie kid is good.
    TB is in toronto – should be favorable for Toronto as well.

    dw (sf) July 28, 2008, 1:25 pm
  • Back to the Manny thing, I do admit to a bit of Manny fatigue. In the past, I’ve had quite a soft spot for him. My 2004 world series jersey has his number on it and my boys have named two fish and a chicken after him. But yeah, I get a little tired of his antics and I think the Sox could pull it off without him. I don’t think he’ll get traded before tomorrow but if he doesn’t come back next year, I think we can still field a championship team.
    Again with the tangents, but when I flipped over to mlb.com hunting for trade rumors there was a big picture of Rickey Henderson over an article about the Hall of Fame ballot. This brought a ridiculous grin to my face – that guys was a ton of fun to watch.

    rootbeerfloat July 28, 2008, 1:28 pm
  • I’m hoping for a Jays sweep. Apparently Maddon is afraid too.
    http://tampabay.rays.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080727&content_id=3207415&vkey=news_tb&fext=.jsp&c_id=tb
    Funny, since Tito said the same thing to weeks ago: “Yankees? I’m worried about the BLUE JAYS.”

    Atheose July 28, 2008, 1:29 pm
  • In the car this morning and unable to avoid sportsradio, the best part of the reporting on the Manny thing is the whole “he’s such a distraction every year” stuff, the implication being that Manny is a terribly divisive presence who kills the team. The funny thing is that the Sox have WON THE SERIES two of these last four years. Even with this horrible distraction around.
    The cognitive dissonance was pretty amusing. It was like the results of 2004 and 2007 didn’t exist to these talking heads, Manny was/is a distraction, a cancer, and everything else was irrelevant.

    SF July 28, 2008, 1:35 pm
  • Paul,
    Fair enough on your point that Manny’s antics have irked SFs and the front office in the past. As you say, efforts to trade him and fan booing have made this clear in the past (although as a casual Sox follower I can’t say I ever recall the guy getting booed at home but I trust a lifelong SFs’ eyewitness account on this).
    I read your original strong post here as you having reached your limit – and yes, I get that this is more a straw that broke the camel’s back thing, i.e. just one more small thing added on top of millions of others, as opposed to one big thing that he has now done. So scrap my statement that SFs or the FO are saying he has now done something mroe egregious than before. The point I was trying to make though – that this fatigue, wherever it comes from, is only there because his performance has dropped – is still very much how I feel. I think your fatigue probably reflects what a lot of SFs are feeling and I just believe that if he was having one of his monster years, I would be seeing much more of the same old defense of Manny and much less of the fatigue with him.
    This is perhaps just common sense for any fanbase blessed/cursed with a troublesome star, but for someone like me who has been tired of Manny because of those antics (esp. HR-gawking) PLUS has had to deal with the fact that his batting heroics have often come at my team’s expense, I not only feel no sympathy for the fatigued SF on this point – I have to admit (with no pride for feeling this way mind you) to wanting even more Manny frustration to come your way because you and your team deserve it for having made the deal with the devil in the first place, put up with his stuff for so long, and defended him whenever his obnoxious acts (again, the HR-gawking being primary for me) antagonized other fans and teams, only because now they are antagonizing your own team, management, and fans AND he is no longer putting up the same numbers. (No, I am not calling him the devil by the way – just a figure of speech to indicate that a trade off was made from day one with him – performance for a whole lot of immaturity and crap).
    I also reacted to the post a bit strongly because of the Bonds/A-Rod linkage at the end frankly, where I see no justifiable comparison between what is troublesome with each of those players.
    There – my true confessions…

    IronHorse (yf) July 28, 2008, 1:45 pm
  • where I see no justifiable comparison between what is troublesome with each of those players
    I think his intention was to compare their perception by Red Sox fans; I don’t think anyone here would claim that ARod and Bonds are equally-corrupt individuals.

    Atheose July 28, 2008, 1:48 pm
  • Nick, I think I was at the other party you went to – the one where we talked about soap all night long. I’m sorry to inform you that none of us there really liked you there either. We just pretended to and then made fun of you as soon as you left. It seems some people are destined to be alone. I’m sorry you are one of them.

    IronHorse (yf) July 28, 2008, 1:50 pm
  • Got it Atheose – I read it as “just like Giants fans rooted for Barry and Yanks fans root for A-Rod, so too do I root for Manny”, but yeah, upon re-reading prompted by your note, I get it. Sorry Paul.

    IronHorse (yf) July 28, 2008, 1:52 pm
  • re. the arod reference in paul’s post: “…The point was that I don’t think Paul was equating his behavior with Bonds are Manny. …”
    uh, sure he was nick, otherwise, why mention both in the same breath…but that’s ok…you have your perception and i have mine…
    i do agree with paul on this: manny’s actions have had a cumulative effect on eroding the love, or as ih put it this is “the straw”…however, what i read into ih’s earlier comment was that the last straw coincides with manny’s apparent decline and soon to be relatively high cost…the 20m no longer looks like the “bargain” it once did…and manny no longer looks as cute as he did when he was at peak performance…even the ever tactful francona looks like he’s run out of winks and nods…

    dc July 28, 2008, 1:54 pm
  • that this fatigue, wherever it comes from, is only there because his performance has dropped
    I guess this is plausible, IH, but I still have a hard time ascribing Paul’s fatigue to anything but all the idiocy that surrounds Manny via the press and the fans, as he eloquently wrote about in the main thread.
    I’ll put it this way: Manny’s production may have dropped, but it hasn’t dropped to the point, at least for me, where I think the Sox are better off with someone else or, more pointedly, that the Sox would even be able to replace him with someone similarly helpful at this point in the season. So the fatigue may be related to all the stuff that gets talked about, and not rooted in a sentiment that Manny needs to be shipped out of town, the problem taken care of now that he isn’t the player he once was. In fact, Paul says quite the opposite, that Manny can’t be gotten rid of if the Sox want to win.
    I think Paul’s point is completely understandable and perhaps quite correct from a baseball standpoint, and to imply that there is a “what have you done for me lately” aspect to it is needless.

    SF July 28, 2008, 1:55 pm
  • I could see how it could be read either way. And OUCH, poor Nick. He’s destined to be a soap-Moses wandering through the soap-desert for 40 years.

    Atheose July 28, 2008, 1:55 pm
  • One thing to remember here. Manny had leg issues for the past 2 months and was DHing as a result of it. David Ortiz comes back off of the DL and suddenly it’s not ok for Manny to still have leg injuries? Manny Ramirez told Francona he would see if he could play the next game. Regardless of what he said Boston leaked out the MRI thing and the suspension thing.
    Could Manny Ramirez not play at that point? If you look at his numbers and games played you need only go to the white guy in right field to see someone who has begged out of more games through his career.
    The Red Sox have an awful history of using the media to bash players they want out of. This is the same exact situation.

    walein July 28, 2008, 1:58 pm
  • “…manny’s apparent decline …”
    have to challenge myself on this one…dc, manny’s decline is the peak for most other players…
    still, he’s not getting any younger, and any drop off is going to raise an eyebrow or 2

    dc July 28, 2008, 2:00 pm
  • I wrote this before on another thread.
    Sydney Ponson was let go and it was only through a slip up of a rookie on Joe and Evan’s show (Ian Kinsler during All-Star week) that the story of what actually happened came out. Manny Ramirez 2 or 3 years ago would not have had the shoving story come out. I’m not defending Manny’s bad behavior. I’m just pointing out the fact that most of these things are handled. The media is aware, and witnesses, all kinds of bad behavior and does not write about it–ALL THE TIME.
    Throw a baseball in a clubhouse and you will hit dozens of adulterers, drug addicts, and alcoholics.

    walein July 28, 2008, 2:04 pm
  • Good point Walein. Lugo was arrested for assaulting his wife but the media didn’t say much about that.

    Atheose July 28, 2008, 2:06 pm
  • By the way…just to be clear: The Yankees too have an awful history of using the media to bash players they are unhappy with.

    walein July 28, 2008, 2:07 pm
  • I can honestly say that NONE of my Manny-fatigue comes from his drop in performance. I started coaching little league a couple of years ago and soon realized that I would rather my 7-8 year olds watch clips of David Eckstein than of Manny.

    rootbeerfloat July 28, 2008, 2:08 pm
  • ARod and Maris are great examples of that.

    Atheose July 28, 2008, 2:08 pm
  • SF, Paul’s post includes the phrase “I’d be more than willing to do it (defend Manny) if it were worth doing”. I don’t think the worthiness of defending manny is judged on anything other than whether he is playing well enough for fans, players, FO, etc. to look the other way on all the behavioral issues, even if you and/or Paul say that worthiness is only based on some general sense of fatigue independent of Manny’s performance.
    You can say that Manny is still great – and he clearly is – but placing the emphasis there, rather than on the fact that this is perhaps his worst year-to-date on a number of statistical fronts, is not as useful when asking the question, why was it worth defending him all these other years but now it is starting to feel like it might not be worth it?
    And I’m not sure what correct from a baseball standpoint means – it’s just as valid from a baseball standpoint to compare his current performance to that of past years (when it was apparently worth defending him) as I am doing, as it is to compare him to a hypothetical replacement player, as you are doing.
    I agree that Paul’s sentiments are understandable, which is why I said “This is perhaps just common sense for any fanbase blessed/cursed with a troublesome star…” and I appreciate the post because it has generated great discussion. I just believe that a typically great (by manny standards) season means this post is likely not posted and in its place is yet another defense of Manny’s behavior from one SF or another.

    IronHorse (yf) July 28, 2008, 2:14 pm
  • “Throw a baseball in a clubhouse and you will hit dozens of adulterers, drug addicts, and alcoholics.”
    Throw a Super Ball and you will hit twice as many.

    LocklandSF July 28, 2008, 2:16 pm
  • “Throw a Super Ball and you will hit twice as many.”
    Place a prostitute with cocaine and booze in the middle of the clubhouse and you will attract 3 times as many.

    IronHorse (yf) July 28, 2008, 2:18 pm
  • “Place a prostitute with cocaine and booze in the middle of the clubhouse and you will attract 3 times as many.”
    You have to get through Sidney first! ;-)

    LocklandSF July 28, 2008, 2:29 pm
  • “…this post is likely not posted and in its place is yet another defense of Manny’s behavior from one SF or another….”
    amen, ih….and i don’t mean this as a criticism of paul or his post…i know he’s insisting that his feelings aren’t linked to manny’s performance, and that’s ok, but it would also be ok if he did make that link…frankly, i’d feel the same way about jeter [as a yankee guy having an off year for example] this year if he was always clowning around, or whatever we call “mannyisms”…

    dc July 28, 2008, 2:35 pm
  • “…this post is likely not posted and in its place is yet another defense of Manny’s behavior from one SF or another….”
    amen, ih….and i don’t mean this as a criticism of paul or his post…i know he’s insisting that his feelings aren’t linked to manny’s performance, and that’s ok, but it would also be ok if he did make that link…frankly, i’d feel the same way about jeter [as a yankee guy having an off year for example] this year if he was always clowning around, or whatever we call “mannyisms”…

    dc July 28, 2008, 2:38 pm
  • my apologies for the double-header

    dc July 28, 2008, 2:38 pm
  • rather than on the fact that this is perhaps his worst year-to-date on a number of statistical fronts
    While I agree Manny’s not having the 1999-2006 peak-type season he had, uh, from 1999 to 2006 (*smacks head*), I can’t agree with this statement. He’s roughly in line with his 1995-1998 pre-peak, and still doing much better than he did in 2007.
    To clarify one thing: With Bonds and A-Rod, I simply picked the two players Red Sox fans are most likely to say they do not want to see in a Boston uniform; the reasons, of course, are very different.
    I think some of the debate about my post may come from folks reading it as a definitive statement. I’m not sure that’s what I intended, especially post-midnight, when I wrote it. I look at it more as a journey (God, how pretentious does that sound?). I started out writing the post because I was fatigued, worked through the fact that much of the fatigue comes from reports or allegations that I actually don’t believe, and arriving finally at a destination where I decide he’s still our Manny — and I’m going to keep rooting for him, regardless of how these many episodes have affected my thoughts about him. I spend very little time discussing his production in the piece because that was ancillary to my thought process, more as a way to provide context for the ballplayer as a whole than anything. And where production plays its most critical role in the post, it’s to ultimately defend him once again and lead me to what conclusion I could derive at that hour, which is mostly a positive one.
    As for the “worth defending” comment, I had the Youkilis and McCormick incidents more in mind than any off-the-cuff quotation of his OPS+ this season.

    Paul SF July 28, 2008, 3:04 pm
  • “To clarify one thing: With Bonds and A-Rod, I simply picked the two players Red Sox fans are most likely to say they do not want to see in a Boston uniform; the reasons, of course, are very different.”
    That’s how I read it.

    Nick-YF July 28, 2008, 3:09 pm
  • All well said. Nice read.
    “Anyone who thinks the Red Sox can survive without Manny Ramirez or an equal bat is sadly deluded”
    There is one equal bat, one true cleanup hitter who makes those around him better and does not choke when called upon, and he plays for St Lou. Getting him would be impossible.

    Dirty Water July 28, 2008, 3:12 pm
  • I just meant Paul that since the Sox have had him, this is the worst he has played, though it is admittedly – and quite clearly – still great. For those purposes, ’07 and ’08 are both relevant as they go to whether or not he is in decline. But I understand you are on your Manny-journey and that on-field performance is not primary on your mind. For all the reasons I noted in my true confessions comment above, I’d love for Manny to continue making trouble, but that has everything to do with my own fandom and fatigue at seeing him light up Yankee pitching. Appreciate the post.
    p.s. Nick, you know that earlier crack was directed at the party-going character you were playing and not at the real Nick, right?

    IronHorse (yf) July 28, 2008, 3:36 pm
  • of course, IH:)

    Nick-YF July 28, 2008, 3:42 pm
  • IH – I have to say I missed that and was wondering why you were being such a jerk to Nick. Back to napping at my desk….

    rootbeerfloat July 28, 2008, 4:08 pm
  • why was it worth defending him all these other years but now it is starting to feel like it might not be worth it?
    Because until this year his antics were not really that offensive. It’s pretty simple. In the past Manny took heat for what – not showing up to Spring Training early? Asking (supposedly, remember) for a trade? Rehabbing for a couple of extra days in 2002 (did Papi get media scrutiny this year for the same thing? Nope.)? For staring at homers? The past transgressions were borderline transgressions, for the most part, many overblown by the media drama queens. Manny stepped over a couple of lines this year, for sure. It’s different. And it has zero to do with his on-field performance “decline”.
    The bottom line is that this year Manny a) shoved a team official and b) got into a fight with a fellow player. Oh, and c) hired Scott Boras.
    Those are all very different actions from what happened in the past. On one occasion in 2006 Manny got me to to post about how he was a disgrace to the Sox, and I think in retrospect it was an overly dramatic post on my part. But this year I think fans have a reasonable basis for fatigue, and it has nothing to do with his performance. That’s my beef, that you seem to be painting other SFs (not me, for the record, I know you weren’t criticizing me) as fair-weather friends and not reasonable human beings who may have a tolerance level for antics that crests at physical violence against team members or employees. I am actually a bit pissed at the fact that you are using this false correlation between Manny’s performances on and off the field to characterize reasonable sentiments as simply ones of convenience.

    SF July 28, 2008, 4:19 pm
  • > In the past Manny took heat for what – not showing up to Spring Training early?
    Nope.. he took heat for when he did show up early, just not early enough for some reporters.

    attackgerbil July 28, 2008, 4:38 pm
  • SF, to be fair, I also was pretty open about the hypocrisy that comes with my own fandom by owning up to the fact that if Manny wasn’t as good as he is, and if his success hadn’t come so often against and at the expense of the Yanks, I’d be much less bothered by his antics.
    Reading your last comment, I am not sure you and Paul are saying the same thing so these seem to be two separate discussions and not one. If I understood Paul correctly he doesn’t think Manny did anything this year that is all that different from past years, but rather is just tired of the whole package that Manny brings with him notwithstanding the great production. Please note that at one point Paul even comments:
    “Is it because his production is down? Maybe so. Perhaps it’s easier to take a lot of crap from a player when his production makes that crap worth it. Manny’s production isn’t what it used to be, and that does change the formula.”
    And that is the main point I was making. I don’t think it is a kind of double-standard that is at all reserved to SFs, but I do think it is a double standard that, in RSN, is best evidenced by tolerance for Manny’s stuff. For the record, I don’t think the Yankees would have kept Reggie Jackson around with some of his egotistical me-first prima donna crap either if he wasn’t the slugger he was. And I don’t think Kevin Cash or Coco Crisp would last long, nor woudl get much defense from fans, acting the way Manny has.
    If you are saying – distinct from Paul’s argument – that you think Manny has crossed lines this year that he didn’t cross before, OK. Physical violence is distinctly different from all other behavior – even calling management a “white devil”. But I have to say in response that I read most of the SF discussion of the travel secretary affair at this site as not at all treating it like something serious and different. On the contrary, it seemed more geared at playing the matter down, defending Manny (again), and blaming much of the hoopla on an over-eager and sensationalist media. I would agree with you that physical violence – toward players, personnel, etc. – is altogether different and warrants a different response than in the past.

    IronHorse (yf) July 28, 2008, 4:45 pm
  • is best evidenced by tolerance for Manny’s stuff
    Personally I don’t find the “stuff” that offensive. In fact, I find the generic overreactions to the “stuff” to be more offensive than the “stuff” itself. At least until the shove of a team employee, for which Manny was, I hope, sternly punished, though my anger at that action has no impact on what the club does. Beyond my anger at Manny, what am I supposed to do? Hope he fails?
    I find the anger at Manny, at least in the past, to be utterly hyperbolic, from both SFs and YFs (and other fans, and mediots as well). Stares at a homer? Outrage! Shows up at Spring Training on time (but not early)? Outrage! Goes inside the wall to talk on the phone? Outrage! It’s ridiculous to me, that this stuff is treated as unforgivable by a huge number of fans and journalists. To buy into the idea that this stuff (not the violence, I want to make sure that is separated out) is “tolerated” gives automatic validity to the idea that it is divisive or terrible or atypical, which it is simply not.

    SF July 28, 2008, 5:51 pm
  • Any time one of you easily-led automatons want to offer proof of ‘violent’ Manny, and how he ‘attacked’ some old man, I’d love to see it. Until then I will continue to believe the reporting of said incident was typical hyperbole from Shank and Co.

    Dirty Water July 28, 2008, 7:13 pm
  • I have Manny fatigue just from reading this thread. Yikes.

    I'mBillMcNeal July 28, 2008, 11:33 pm
  • SF, so I assume that you think Manny took a legit day off last Friday, not to mention in August and Sept of 2006. Fine. I assume you think repeatedly forgetting how many outs there are both as a defender and on the base pads is an example of playing the game the right way. And you think publicly villifying your team’s management is professional behavior. Fine. And I am sure if A-Rod stood and admired every HR he hit off Boston pitching you would mock all those who call it for what it is – a-hole behavior – with a simple “outrage!”. As Jose Reyes has clearly gone to the Manny school of sporstmanship, I hope all Manny-defenders stick up for Reyes’ right to run around the bases with his finger up in a “number one” sign, to dance on the field when the other team fails, etc.
    I am sorry, but you call it “offensive” that people react to this kind of stuff? How is it offensive? If you think it is all professional behavior not worthy of corrective measures or legitimate criticism – at least not until violence comes into the picture – then fine – argue that. But to say you are offended? I really just don’t get that.
    The amoutn of time I’ve spent on this particular thread may give the impression that I spend lots of time thinking about Manny. Well I don’t. But most SFs I know support and defend all of the above and I firmly believe they do so only because he is as good with a bat as he is and for absolutely no other reason. Not because it all shows that Manny just loves the game or that it is the right way to play or anything else. And yes – I still think that if it were Coco Crisp doing it, he’d be gone by now – certainly not defended to the hilt.
    It’s fine that we disagree – but just because you’re pissed at what I believe – well, I just don’t know what to say about that.

    IronHorse (yf) July 28, 2008, 11:36 pm
  • First, this point so we don’t start playing revisionist history …
    When the Red Sox were making overtures to acquire Rodriguez from Texas for Manny, Rodriguez toured Boston, toured Harvard, said a lot of really nice things, all the right things and genuinely made it sound like Boston was the place he wanted to be, that this would the start of a special love affair in his mind.
    Then the deal fell through. (He didn’t jilt us.)
    Then Big Stein jumped in and Rodriguez was in pinstripes.
    Then Rodriguez said the same things about New York that he said about Boston. And it all came off as really disingenuous, leaving us to feel as though we’d been lied to by the hot chick.
    So, that (and yes, with a few sour grapes thrown in) is really what we found so galling, and to me, at least, the reason we have a distaste for him, much more than than the whole “Slappy” thing.
    (So what did we learn? That the word “gullible” is not in the dictionary.)
    next point …

    I'mBillMcNeal July 28, 2008, 11:55 pm
  • I find the biggest source of Manny’s issues to be the same as the source of Teddy F. Ballgame’s issues, and even Nomie’s issues: None addressed/addresses the media when this crap comes up.
    A lot of these things would blow over if Manny would answer questions about them and apologize about them publicly. But because he does not, the media are left to speculate and we are left to speculate and it goes on and on and on until we’re left talking in circles, repeating ourselves ad infinitum.
    And that is what makes me so damn weary of it all.
    Manny won’t talk, so everyone else talks for him. And so, so many of the voices are like me in college when we’d go to a movie and someone would open their mouth and not talk (sorry G. Carlin.) I’d provide the dialogue, and it wasn’t when the character on screen was saying.
    Oh, we just love to hate. It’s so much easier than the truth.
    I’m not excusing him on some things, like the McCormick episode. But him sitting out? We don’t know the truth.

    I'mBillMcNeal July 29, 2008, 12:04 am
  • Apply the same to The Bill. How quickly would the whole videotape thing have gone away if he’d just answered all of the questions?
    So many in the media will rationalize facts into a story that sounds pausible because they have to submit something to an editor. “Won’t talk? fine. I’ll give you my version, the truth be damned.”
    Manny might not be THAT bad of a guy, but he makes it so much harder on himself than he needs to.

    I'mBillMcNeal July 29, 2008, 12:09 am
  • “But most SFs I know support and defend all of the above and I firmly believe they do so only because he is as good with a bat as he is and for absolutely no other reason.”
    Largely true for me, horse. Not 100 percent, but more than 50 percent.
    And I sense a Favre-holding-the-Packers-hostage analogy coming on (not the obvious onem but a better one), but I’m too tired to pull it out and try to explain it. Maybe tomorrow.

    I'mBillMcNeal July 29, 2008, 12:12 am
  • The Gammons article Lockland noted on the Sox thread last night says it better than I tried to multiple times yesterday. And he doesn’t even mention this year’s slapping and shoving episodes to make his case, but rather Manny’s lack of character, integrity, or respect for the game.
    He says the Sox “sold their souls” because of Manny’s batting skills, looked the other way for years on his me-first attitude, and are paying for it now. He makes it clear that he believes Manny sat it out in 2006 and last week for selfish and not health reasons. He says he plays “with no regard for character and integrtiy”, and that if the Sox can’t win without him at least they can feel “clean and sober”.
    For a YF the added note of Sox players admiring the work ethic of Jeter, Damon, Abreu, and A-Rod is nice to see.
    I don’t think Gammons is part of a sensationalistic media horde, but regardless, this is the simple point I was trying to make – to say plainly that most of RSN has been defending and protecting him and rationalizing his behavior forever simply because he can hit and not because he just loves the game or is loveably childlike – the kind of stuff critics of Manny like me have gotten sick of hearing over the years. And yes – admittedly – I take a bit of pleasure in the pain Manny is causing his own now.

    IronHorse (yf) July 29, 2008, 10:29 am
  • I think this is the first time Gammons has admitted that he, too, believes Manny gave up at the end of 2006, which I’m somewhat shocked to see.
    I had dismissed a lot of the Manny drama as the “media horde” blowing things out of proportion because, frankly, they do that all the time. Obviously this is not exclusive to Boston, but is especially bad regarding sports athletes. As I said on the other thread, Gammons is normally a calm, collected and objective reporter, so when he lashes out in an article this way (like he did against ARod last October) it carries more weight. Others (CHB specifically) are negative and pessimistic the majority of the time, and so I disregard a lot of what they say, but not so with Gammons.

    Atheose July 29, 2008, 11:10 am
  • I agree Atheose. Though I also agree with whoever commented elsewhere here today that Gammons has been writing some nasty and almost demagogic stuff in recent years. It’s almost as if he is getting really crotchety in his older age. But yeah, I still place him in higher regard than lots of other sports commentators.

    IronHorse (yf) July 29, 2008, 11:17 am
  • Even as a Manny defender/love, I have often thought that the end of this year may be the time to say goodbye (I don’t think his production will likely be worth $20 million), and there’s no doubt some of his antics aren’t so fun.
    But I still perceive a lot of this as media-driven and overblown. So, whatever. Love blinds you to people’s negative qualities, and I fully admit to near-constant blindness with Manny. Eff it, dude. I’m just gonna watch him hit some monster shots for the rest of the year, even if this is 2006 redux, and enjoy it while I can.

    Devine July 29, 2008, 11:23 am
  • He says the Sox “sold their souls” because of Manny’s batting skills, looked the other way for years on his me-first attitude, and are paying for it now.
    See, this is ridiculous and hyperbolic. They “sold their souls”?! Seriously? You mean Ownerhsip sold their souls over Manny and not when they tacitly approved steroid use? They sold their souls how, apparently? How are the Sox different from any team that coddles a superstar, if that’s what people feel they are doing? What if they can’t trade him, are they supposed to cut him on principle? Beyond benching him or suspending him (a legitimate option if they feel he has been subordinate), what are the supposed to do, burn a Manny in effigy? What team EVER acts like this, what team has the uber-morality of a Jimmy Carter?
    This kind of over-the-top statement from Gammons is exactly what I have my fatigue from, this sanctimony. Where was Gammons when there was a whistle to be blown on guys violating the spirit of fair play? Where was the outrage from all these media blowhards who are such insiders that they know exactly what goes on in the clubhouse but weren’t exactly forthcoming with stories about PED use? Where were the front office stool pigeons ratting out drug users to the press, the same guys who whisper to Bob Lobel at bars late in the night? They were nowhere, that’s where. But Manny staring at a home run is a violation. Manny drinking a Gatorade in the wall is a violation. When Manny took extra days in rehab in 2002 he was vilified, when Papi did it this year nobody gave a shit. Why is that, exactly? Because Manny is a horrible, horrible man and Papi is an angel? Or because Manny doesn’t play the game like everyone else and kiss the media’s ass, smile every day in front of the camera and give good sound bite? Manny’s divisiveness (pre-2008, taking this year off the table) has always been completely exaggerated, if not fiction. The team hasn’t suffered a whit as far as I can tell, and this year the root of their problems is not the enigmatic cleanup hitter, but relief pitching, three dead spots in the lineup, an aging catcher who can’t hit his way out of a paper bag, oh, and relief pitching.
    There’s no excuse for Manny’s actions this year, his shoving of a team employee, his speaking out against Ownership (who should deal with him however they see fit, they’d be justified in punishing him for subordinance as far as I am concerned). So this year is different to me, and it’s directly related to the fact that Manny’s actions are far more significant than in the past, when silly stuff was made demonic by the press. Let’s cut the revisionist crap that the Sox have been negatively impacted by Manny all these years, that Manny was the embodiment of everything wrong with professional athletics, that Manny is the root of the team’s troubles now, that the team “sold it’s soul” over this player. Leave some of that territory to Floyd Landis, Marion Jones, Barry Bonds. So that kind of statement is, yes, offensive to me, particularly coming from the biggest insider journalist in all of baseball who wrote how many stories about players taking PEDs during the height of their prevalence? This coming a guy who still mocks players who went public with allegations (some substantiated) of the prevalence of steroid use. Gammons, who I grew up reading, who I still like reading, has very little moral high ground to stand on here. “Sold their souls”? Please.

    SF July 29, 2008, 11:36 am
  • SF, hyperbolic attacks on Manny’s character is one end of the spectrum. Denial of – or refusal to acknowledge – any wrongdoing by him short of when he gets violent is the other. I get that the former annoys you and I certainly acknowledge it goes on, esp. from the media. But the latter also goes on, it is what annoys me and it has come for a long time from RSN. You don’t think Manny hurt the Sox in 2006? Fine. Just because I do doesn’t make my view of events “revisionist crap”.
    When I’ve complained in the past that Manny’s HR-gawking was the sign of a supremely self-centered egomaniac who should be reined in, the virtual unanimity of SFs who respond as if this is the furtherst thing from the truth and I just don’t understand Manny has always been overwhelming. The notion that “manny being manny” is anything other than a concise articulation of double-standards is absurd to me.
    You don’t want to hear the Sox sold their souls and I can understand that. I don’t want to hear that all Manny’s actions are simply Manny being Manny as if that makes them ok, that he is simply a misunderstood man-child who just loves to play, etc.
    As to expected remedies, I am not talking about management cutting him loose for nothing or any other unrealistic expectations. It is not the Sox FO I’m tired of – its SFs defending him with such pablum as noted above for years. Now that a number of them are also finally starting to get sick of his antics and realiznig that maybe he is pretty selfish, I feel no sympathy for them and am taking some joy in those who defended his actions all those years now getting sick of it.
    As for management, I agree – the Sox are not any different from all teams that coddle superstars. It’s the pretense – mostly from fans – that this is not exactly what the team has been doing for years because he hasn’t done anything wrong other than getting violent a couple times this year that I’ve been responding to.

    IronHorse (yf) July 29, 2008, 12:26 pm
  • you know sf, your argument that guys like gammons should have been as concerned, or more concerned, about ped users as they seem to be about manny episodes is a bit scary…while in spirit i could agree with your sentiment, you seem to have missed that sports media has been talking about drug abuse for years…the fact that they have left out the dirty details suggests more that they just didn’t have the hard evidence necessary to avoid libel suits, rather than negligence or a lack of interest, so they tap-danced around the issue until canseco squeaked and mitchell’s report was made public…don’t you remember how the media pounced on every page as it was released, just to see who was in it?…all media coverage was intense, because now they had “facts”, or at least mitchell’s version of them…do you really think guys were talking openly to gammons about it prior to that, or worse yet, actually shooting up in front of him?…did he really have “insider” information to expose?…doubt it…targeting manny’s foolishness is much less hazardous territory journalistically…heck, even the “shove” was admitted by manny and subsequently excused by the ticket guy…

    dc July 29, 2008, 1:01 pm
  • Please let me know how Manny’s previous past “transgressions” hurt the team. I am honestly curious to know how they negatively impacted the Sox’ successes during his tenure with the team. I am curious to know how the 2006 stuff impacted the Sox’ chances, and how you know, for that matter, that Manny wasn’t injured enough for his presence in the lineup to be relatively impactless. Or, if he was hurt but could still play, how that might have changed the results of that season. I am also curious to know what other transgressions Manny has perpetrated, beyond the shenanigans chalked up to “Manny being Manny” (a term I don’t care for, I find it demeaning to Manny) such as staring at homers, or going inside walls, or selling barbecue grills on Ebay, etc. I am absolutely honestly curious to know how this has caused such horrible things to happen to the Sox, how it is the manifestation of a franchise making a deal with the devil.
    To that end, why is it now unfair for fans to draw a line at violence against a team employee or teammate? Why is it unfair or, worse, hypocrisy, for fans to tolerate enigmatic behavior that apparently impacts nobody (again, please provide proof of the negative impact, since you seem so damn certain that that impact can be measured or qualified) but get annoyed or angry or repulsed when it becomes vividly sociopathic? Why is this hypocrisy?
    As for “I don’t want to hear how the Sox sold their souls”, that’s not it at all. I want to know HOW THEY SOLD THEIR SOULS. Seriously, HOW DID THEY DO THIS, exactly? Your statmement implies that it is a FACT that they did this, that I am in some sort of denial about the obvious. But what can you point to that justifies such a blatantly hyperbolic, overblown, and sanctimonious charge? I assume that all sports franchises are business monsters. They make decisions that are, in the best case, barely reliant on anything morality-based. For the record, when did the Yankees sell their souls? Or are they still in possession? Care to articulate?

    SF July 29, 2008, 1:11 pm
  • The Yanks DID NOT sell their souls when they signed Tony Womack. That was an altruistic gesture.
    On the other hand, they sold their souls when they signed Gary Sheffield because he is a controversial figure who could help them win games. That’s the general rule.

    Nick-YF July 29, 2008, 1:20 pm
  • Did Mickey Mantle hurt the Yankees when he played drunk? Or was that just “Mickey being Mickey”?

    SF July 29, 2008, 1:27 pm
  • depends on if he was hung over. If all he was was drunk, in all likelihood his nerves left him and he excelled at the bat. That’s how it works for me in social situations.
    But, SF, in all seriousness, I completely agree, and have long argued this exact point about the general amorality of sports fandom. I don’t know what got into Gammons, but this piece hyperbolic to say the least.

    Nick-YF July 29, 2008, 1:30 pm
  • SF, when I said you don’t want to hear that the Sox sold their souls it was not intended as an implication that you are in denial. It was meant as a genuine acknowledgement that such a phrase is hyperbolic and I can understand why you wouldn’t want to hear it. This is why, even when I said the team made a deal with teh devil, I immediately followed that with qualification that I was not at all implying he was so bad – just using a well-known phrase to imply they made a conscious decision for a trade-off: performance for immature troublesome behavior.
    I think between the two poles of being hyperbolic on the one hand and saying he has never done anything wrong until slapping and shoving a couple people this year on the other, there is a huge continuum wherein the truth lies. By acknowledging that much media criticism of Manny is too far on the hypebolic end, I was both being honest about my own views and trying to stake out somewhere in between where I stand. Your comments here lead me to believe you will never come off what I view to be the far other end of the spectrum. Fine.
    You don’t have to agree that Manny’s actions in the past – before the ’08 slapping or shoving – have ever been classless, self-centered, egotistical, disrespectful of both his team and bosses, indicative of someone who puts himself before his team and who has little regard for the way the game is supposed to be played. I believe that to be the case. I don’t believe Manny’s behavior in 2008 came out of nowhere and was totally unpredictable.
    And by pressing me to tell you how he hurt his own team you are exactly missing the point I’ve been trying to make. I think RSN has turned a blind eye to any Manny misbehavior for years exactly because they felt, “hey, he helps us a lot so who cares if he acts liek an a*% toward others teams, insults our ownership publicly, etc?” Fine. I’m just glad that he is now turning his a-holeness back home so it is no longer just the rest of us who are sick of him.

    IronHorse (yf) July 29, 2008, 1:41 pm
  • You could ask the same about David Wells, though he pitched a perfect game!

    Atheose July 29, 2008, 1:42 pm
  • And yes, the Yanks have “sold their souls” many times as has every professional sports team in a profit-making business. Sheffield may be one example, Giambi is probably another, Billy Martin is another, and I could go on and on.
    The question is whether fans can ever acknowledge it when it is happening. I don’t think the vast majority of SFs have never acknowledged it vis-a-vis Manny.

    IronHorse (yf) July 29, 2008, 1:45 pm
  • i told you guys a long time ago that gammons was a kook…i’ll risk an attack for this one, but when he says “nice” things about the sox, he’s a respected hall of fame journalist…when he [almost never] goes off on a negative rant, he’s a fool [or some equivalent]
    “…I don’t know what got into Gammons…”
    like i said nick, frustration…he’s a fan first, like it or not, and is probably embarrassed for his team…for once we’re talking about something besides yanks mentioned in the mitchell report, madonna-rod, and jeter’s lack of range, probably brought on by his busy love life…something amiss in rsn?…heaven forbid…
    nice tit for tat on the mantle comment sf…i know you did it for dramatic effect, but that kind of tactic always detracts from your main argument…which i agree with by the way…the phrase “selling your souls to the devil” is a bit extreme…same as i rooted for guys like mantle, billy martin, reggie, giambi, clemens, and sheffield to name a few, i never once felt like a sellout…neither should you…heck this isn’t a fantasy league where we can pick our own teams and avoid those players with character flaws…we’d probably pick ’em anyway if they gave us the best chance to win…that’s where the “holier than thou” part of the argument begins to crumble…

    dc July 29, 2008, 1:55 pm
  • oh, and i haven’t seen a negative post about hank in awhile…either i’m not paying attention, or he ain’t talking as much

    dc July 29, 2008, 1:58 pm
  • I never said Manny “never did anything wrong” pre-2008. That would be pretty stupid and naive. I merely stated my opinion that whatever he has done “wrong” (and again, I have a real problem with joining a morality arbitration gang on this front) it has had little impact on the team. The two things are not necessarily intertwined. I don’t understand the sudden need for Gammons or others to suddenly link the Manny shenanigans to the on-field difficulties, to tie it to an “I told you so” to Sox fans in such broadly general terms. I find it a tenuous connection at best, grandstanding at worst.
    Manny is a selfish, egotistical, highly paid athlete. I have said this here on numerous occasions. But recognizing this fact is different from using it to bash the player as a negative influence in such broad terms, which is what has gone on for too long with Manny. The negative criticism of Manny is usually more just hollowly negative, and devoid of intelligent criticism of the real impact of his personality on the team, which is not entirely measurable or even, perhaps, that significant in the end.

    SF July 29, 2008, 2:00 pm
  • The question is whether fans can ever acknowledge it when it is happening. I don’t think the vast majority of SFs have never acknowledged it vis-a-vis Manny.
    You need to go read the “Barry Bonds to the Sox?” thread at SoSH if you don’t think that fans think about this in real time. Seriously.
    Here: http://sonsofsamhorn.net/index.php?showtopic=33720

    SF July 29, 2008, 2:03 pm
  • If Manny were on the Yanks, my major concern would be whether this past weekend’s issues–the MRI’s that seemingly forced Manny to play–are a prelude of things to come for the upcoming pennant race. My guess is that he will be playing the majority of the games the rest of the season, but there is always the chance that he’ll try to ask out. If you’re following the mainstream media line of truth, then his asking out is insubordination and truly one of the more selfish decisions a team sport player can make. Morally-speaking that might turn you off and make you think a little differently of Manny’s legacy. Who am I to tell anyone how to think about ethical/moral issues. Of course, Manny could really feel unable to play, as he claims he felt this past Friday. The lack of evidence of injury from an MRI is not a slam dunk case against Manny. He could sincerely feel that his body is not up to playing certain games. Seems to happen a lot to JD Drew, for instance. Still, the reality is that Manny would not be playing, and that would hurt the team big time. As a fan then, I would have to wonder whether moving him is actually the thing to do right now.

    Nick-YF July 29, 2008, 2:10 pm
  • Seems to happen a lot to JD Drew, for instance.
    Really? “A lot”? He’s projected to play in 146 games this year, played in 140 last year, and played in 145 the year before. When is this meme going to die?
    So when is the “Nancy Matsui” thread going to start? After all, he has missed nearly 2/3 of two of the past three seasons, and in the other one played barely the same number of games as JD Drew.

    SF July 29, 2008, 2:34 pm
  • why is that a controversial statement, sf? Drew sits a lot more than most everyday players. He has chronic health issues that are not always verifiable by MRI. No biggie to me. It’s possible that Manny, albeit not likely, that Manny was going through a similar thing when he asked out of the line-up.

    Nick-YF July 29, 2008, 2:38 pm
  • I didn’t think Nick was being unreasonable. Drew sits out a bit. Maybe not more than like 6 or 7 games over what’s expected, but he does occasionally have a “Not feeling it today” ask-out which Tito grants without blinking (seemingly).

    Devine July 29, 2008, 2:42 pm
  • maybe I shouldn’t have said a lot, but I feel relatively speaking it’s a lot for someone who is an everyday player.

    Nick-YF July 29, 2008, 2:45 pm
  • There were 74 players in all of baseball who played 150 games or more in 2007, 72 in 2006. Of these 146, four were DHs, the number would be higher without interleague play.
    In the AL in 2006 there were 35 players who cracked 149 games. In 2007 there were 37 players.
    Not trying to be overly defensive here, but just pointing out that nearly every single regular position player in baseball doesn’t play games here and there due to wear and tear. With a guy like Drew, you just hear about it because of reputation, and I am inclined to believe that the reputation is just that, a reputation, and barely different from the norm. The guys who consistenly crack 150+ games (Abreu, the object of much hatred from YFs) are basically freaks.
    For the record, some reasonably high-profile guys who played fewer games than Drew last year: Pedroia, Jermaine Dye, Garko, Kotchman, Tejada, Kinsler, BJ Upton, Mora. These are just a few. Guys who played 1/2/3 games more than Drew: Teahen, Casey, Carl Crawford, Matsui, Polanco, Damon, Youk, Wells (played 149 games), Shannon Stewart.
    Heard about their “Nancy-ness”, ever?

    SF July 29, 2008, 3:04 pm
  • “Nancy Matsui”
    funny stuff sf…i cracked up when i saw that…yep, you have a good point, except i don’t think mat’s ever been suspected of sitting out when he didn’t need to…fair or not, drew has that reputation…and, i think it was his own teammates who coined the nickname “nancy”…nice tit for tat though…

    dc July 29, 2008, 3:41 pm
  • Just because something is a cliche doesn’t mean it’s not true.. =P besides, with Matsui, he did play every game for a few years, plus a decade (give or take) of every game in Japan. I don’t think any YFs are deluded, but the guy is a little old, so it’s not unexpected.
    Still, it’s probably the whole demeanor thing though. He doesn’t look like he tries hard so when he gets injured, it seems like it’s off something “stupid”. Matsui broke his wrist on a dive and then apologized for not being able to play. Yaaaaa..

    Lar July 29, 2008, 4:48 pm
  • But ya, missing 60+ games at age 25, 27, 29 does that to your reputation, fluke or not.

    Lar July 29, 2008, 4:51 pm
  • DC, for the record I never said I wouldn’t or didn’t root for social misfits who helped the Yankees win – I have and always will because I am a fan of the team. But I wouldn’t stand there when Billy Martin is acting like an abusive cry-baby and not acknowledge that he is acting like an abusive cry-baby. That’s all. I would go on to say he is our abusive cry-baby and he somehow gets the job done so I am all for him but yeah, I can see why people would hate him. I don’t think it is moral grandstanding to do both of these things at once – root for the guy but not be blind to why he is hateful to so many.
    The most concrete, and very specific recent example of this is Joba throwing at Youkilis’ head. Whatever anyone else says, having watched their matchups and made up my own mind, I believe Joba has thrown purposefully at his head in an attempt to scare the hell out of a guy who was hitting .400 off him in early ABs or simply in order to key on one guy in that line-up to give himself an edge when he pitches against Boston and rattle that guy and his teammates. Whatever the reason, I believe it to be true. So last time he did it just last week, I am on record here as saying that I can fully understand why Youkilis, his teammates, and SFs would think he is headhunting and why they would hate him for it as I would hate someone doing it to A-Rod or Jeter. But I also said that regardless of my disgust for headhunting, I am thrilled to have an intimidator at the top of our rotation for the first time in decades (not counting an aged Clemens) and I love the guy. None of that makes me either a moral grandstander or less of a YF.
    By contrast, I rarely ever encounter an SF prior to the past two weeks who would acknowledge that Manny could legitimately be viewed as an a-hole and not just a loveable man-child, and that lack of acknowledgement and living in Manny-rose-tinted-glasses fantasy-land is what annoys me.
    OK – having typed the equivalent of the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire about Manny in the past two days, I’m done on this topic. Sorry if I dominated with over-posting on this particular thread. The guy and his fans’ reaction to him just annoy me to no end.

    IronHorse (yf) July 29, 2008, 6:10 pm
  • By contrast, I rarely ever encounter an SF prior to the past two weeks who would acknowledge that Manny could legitimately be viewed as an a-hole and not just a loveable man-child, and that lack of acknowledgement and living in Manny-rose-tinted-glasses fantasy-land is what annoys me.
    Then you haven’t read a whole lot from RSN, SoSH, or at this site. Sorry to be so blunt about it, IH, but there is a TON of anger and frustration at Manny, a lot of people completely sick of his egomania. We can’t win. If we now acknowledge he’s an asshole, then we’re doing it out of convenience because Manny is on the downslope of his career. If we don’t do it we’re living in Fantasyland. This is “when was the last time you beat your wife” territory, as far as I can tell.
    And I am glad you love a guy who has no qualms about possibly turning a player into Tony Conigliaro. That says a great deal about the convenient morals of sports fans right there. The fact that you can admit that you love a guy who would do that to another player doesn’t make you a better fan than those who don’t consider Manny an asshole, as much as you want to congratulate yourself for doing so.

    SF July 29, 2008, 6:21 pm
  • You’re right SF – I don’t frequent SoSH or RSN. It may be simply that fans of a team are much more critical of their players when debating each other than when debating the enemy (YFs). My impressions of SF views come from the many I know and debate with every year and from the debates I’ve followed and participated in on this site, in which I wouldn’t describe the views of SFs vis-a-vis Manny in the same way you have, but you’ve been here much longer and maybe you’re right there too.
    As for your second paragraph, you get the last word on the substance of that debate because I would find it tough to respond with anything but nastiness at this point. I certainly don’t want Youkilis hit in the head if that is what you are taking away from this exchange.

    IronHorse (yf) July 29, 2008, 6:51 pm
  • Where did I say that you wanted Youk hit in the head? I certainly don’t believe that you think that. The point was that you are congratulating yourself for admitting that Joba throwing at someone’s head is distasteful while accusing in toto and in broadstroke generalization that somehow there aren’t any Sox fans who would admit similar things about Manny and his actions. This is a patently false accusation.
    Of course, if we do admit those things, then of course it’s all because Manny is declining. How can we win?
    The answer is with you is that we can’t. You’ve set a total trap.

    SF July 29, 2008, 7:57 pm
  • “You’ve set a total trap.”
    Or, alternatively, those who have defended virtually everything Manny has done short of violence with “well, that’s loveable Manny being Manny” set their own trap and are now dealing with it.
    Indeed, those differing points of view probably encapsulate much of our debate here.
    Since you say you neither have defended all his non-violent actions nor explain them away with M-b-M, my frustration isn’t with sfs like you anyway. However, I do have to note that virtually all other sf comments on this thread have gone further than you in acknowledging Manny’s behavioral issues or in acknowledging a certain blindness to them born of love for his bat.
    Paul notes that performance drop-off does change the equation in judging whether it is worth continuing to defend Manny (whereas you say you have difficulty ascribing any of Paul’s sentiment to the same) even while he says that this year’s antics are in a different league for him and are probably more the cause of his fatigue than is drop-off.
    Devine says love blinds us to people’s negative qualities and he loves Manny.
    IBM says that my point that many sfs defend many solely because of his performance and for no other reason is “Largely true for me…Not 100 percent, but more than 50 percent”.
    rbf says he was fatigued by Manny long before the performance drop-off – i.e. when he started coaching little league and didn’t want anyone looking at Manny’s approach as the right way to play.
    I don’t speak for any of them, but I don’t know that any of them felt “trapped” by me.
    I agreed with all of them by acknowledging how my own fandom leads me to look past misfit behavior of Yankees whose performance helps the team win even while I can acknowledge that their behavior is wrong and I tire of it. This wasn’t an “I’m a better fan” statement as you painted it – just the reverse – it was a “we all do it” statement. Except I guess in your case you don’t and you don’t think most SFs have with Manny because until 2008, nothing he did was really all that problematic so there was nothing to excuse away.
    I agree with you that Manny’s pre-2008 behavior has not been as bad as some of the media has made it out to be. I am not trying to paint him as the devil and I agree that it is dumb when people do. But as I said, I think much of that behavior was classless, self-centered, egotistical, disrespectful of both his team and bosses, indicative of someone who puts himself before his team and who has little regard for the way the game is supposed to be played – and I believe that if he were performing at the level of Coco Crisp all these years, fans would have stood for little of it and certainly not invented a “Coco being Coco” defense. He would either have been reined in or off the team by now for that same behavior – not because it is incredibly harmful, but because it is disruptive and unprofessional. I guess you disagree. Fine.
    I went on to tell you that most SFs I know and with whom I have debated this issue portray Manny’s behavior as blameless or explain it away with “M-b-M”. You say I am wrong and that SFs have been much tougher on Manny than I know. Fine – I defer to your better knowledge of RSN on this. I just haven’t read your comments on this thread as very reflective of this – at least not as much as virtually all of your fellow-sfs.

    IronHorse (yf) July 30, 2008, 11:42 am

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