Gordon Edes takes on the newest Manny Ramirez scandal in today’s Globe, and he doesn’t mince any words. Edes calls Ramirez a "disgrace", and though in the past it’s been easier to dismiss some of Ramirez’s foibles as simply enigmatic and acceptable because he produces, in this case there’s no room for the "Mercurial Defense". Edes is right. Ramirez, when approached by Francona before yesterday’s Sox-Devil Rays game to forgo a scheduled day off to help fill out a depleted lineup, declined to accept, stating he was "tired". This after Matt Clement gets lifted off the field in a stretcher, Trot goes on the DL, and also before a scheduled day off today.
This incident illustrates a by-product of signing a prima-donna athlete to a long-term contract, and this is a residually corrosive piece of fallout: the emasculation of the manager in front of the entire team and in full public view. As Edes explains, Terry Francona backpedals a bit from his explanation on why Ramirez asked out, but does so with a zombie-like cadence, and this cover job fails to hide his utter lack of power over certain aspects of the team. It’s a bad situation, and the only saving grace is that Manny has already helped the Sox to a championship and there are only three years left on his contract, so shipping him off gets financially easier every day. I think this incident also gives the Sox’ brass a weapon to use on Francona, when Tito’s day of reckoning begins to approach. I await Yankees’ fans accusing me of "throwing Manny under a bus", but for the team’s highest-paid player to ask out of a game after being requested by his manager to step in to help the team after a fellow teammate is nearly maimed and a fellow outfielder is sent to the DL in the thick of a pennant race (and it shouldn’t matter where the team is in the standings, to be truthful), is, just as Edes says, disgraceful.