Friday, August 01, 2008

No More Manny

This blog is officially in mourning today. After a two-week express train of quotes bandied about, media frenzy and the media meme "He's gone too far; he's hurting the team; Manny has to go", Manny Ramirez has been traded to the Dodgers.

This season's hurting the team numbers: .299 average, .398 OBP, .529 SLG, .926 OPS, 66 runs, 109 hits, 22 doubles, 20 homeruns, 68 RBIs. Oh, yeah, the guy was fucking killing us.

I don't see where trading our best hitter for the past 8 years (.312 lifetime average with the Sawx), one of the only three hitters hitting well after the All-Star break (Youk & Pedroia are hitting, too, and the rest of the team are swatting at flies) helps the Red Sox very much. The pitching staff except for Lester has been shaky; the middle relievers worse; this doesn't help any of that, except that Jason Bay may be a slight improvement in left field. Once he figures out how to play the Monster which will probably take until next season.

Well, all the media haters are wicked happy. They got their man. Gerry KKKallahan at the Herald (he of the METCO gorilla yukfest, the guy wears his racism on his sleeve) and the CHB, aka the Shank, Dan Shaughnessy at the Globe, and Peter Gammons of ESPN who has been particularly vitriolic towards MBM. They're all gleeful today.

These gasbags have all mentioned at some point during this road to disaster that they want someone who will play the game "right". They'd be happier with a .220 hitter who hustled down the line into all his 6-4-3 double play groundouts. Well, they got rid of their man, and they may just have gotten their way.

Me, I loved Manny's Joy of Sox, how he enjoyed himself, how he never got down after a bad at bat or a flub in the field. My favorite play of this year was that crazy one in Baltimore where he caught a ball on the warning track, leaped into the stands to high-five a fan, then turned around and threw the ball in to double the runner off first. (Here's the sequence in photos.) Priceless MBM moment.

And the other thing about Manny was that because he never took anything too seriously, these kinds of scuffles with management never lasted. He could ask to be traded and hit a home run in his next at bat. The whole "he has to go" thing is made up out of whole cloth, because these kinds of situations have happened repeatedly during Manny's time with the Sawx, and he just kept hitting and producing in the clutch.

I have to take the way I feel this morning with a grain of salt, because this is the way I felt after we traded away Nomar in '04, and we all know how that worked out.

I read lots of Sawx blogs last night, and this is the line that stood out for me, from Jere at A Red Sox Fan From Pinstripe Territory:

The Red Sox' historic efforts to be the first team to successfully trade their best player for no reason continues. Next thing you know, the media will convince us that we're rooting for gas prices to reach 10 dollars per gallon. "I just can't take low gas prices' antics anymore!"

Farewell to the MVP of the 2004 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox. I for one will miss you.

Boston Globe Photo Gallery: Manny Through the Years

Boston Globe Photo Gallery: Manny's Moments


The Light said...

Right up there with NO 'Aints trading the house for Ricky "Reefer Madness" Williams, or Mike Lynn giving away fifteen or so guys for Herschel Walker, maybe even bigger than my all-time favorite, Babe Ruth for 100 grand.

Young Jeff Bagwell for some dolt that pitched ten times?

truth said...

Red Auerbach made the greatest steals: Dennis Johnson for Wick Wobey. And Robert Parrish for Joe Barry Carroll -- and the draft pick the Celtics used to get Kevin McHale.

lovable liberal said...

I don't read the Herald, and Dan Shaughnessy has always been a begrudger (see Angela's Ashes), but Manny has never been a teammate you could count on. He was often brilliant, no doubt, but only when he felt like it.

A guy like Manny who shows up only when it's easy can poison a team. Papi won't get as many fastballs, and the team won't be as good statistically for the get-a-lifers, but they'll compete instead of lapsing further into ugly August funk.

The Sox gave up a lot to dump Ramírez, but I think it was the right decision, both for the business and for baseball. Manny will probably fare well in LA, too.

truth said...

I don't buy that Manny wasn't a teammate you could count on. My prime examples would be the 2004 and 2007 World Championship seasons. Even this season, I don't think Manny was avoiding tough pitchers, even though the front office put that out through their media stooges. This blogger checked up on all of Manny's off days this season and wasn't convinced:

People are annoyed that he took days off. I see an aging superstar knowing exactly how much punishment his body could take and taking good care of himself. Nobody plays 162 games in a year and is still playing at age 36. The guy played between 120 and 152 games every year he was with the Sawx.

He's no Butch Hobson, and that's OK with me. I'm going to miss his antics and his production.

And I'm not saying it wasn't the right business decision by the Sawx. I just wish they hadn't trashed the guy in the process. Unnecessary and unfair. JMHO.

lovable liberal said...

Amen on Butch Hobson, especially as a manager. Butch was in the wrong sport, smart enough for football (though not for Belichick) but not for baseball.

Manny is a great hitter, no doubt, and an underrated if scary fielder, but he vanished way too many times to be a good teammate. Ortiz misses him, of course, because Manny got Papi a lot of meaty fastballs.

But Manny quit too often (2006, this July), slapped too many people around (even Youk), and had too many phantom injuries. If he needed more time off, fine, work it out. Instead, he showed up and scratched without any warning. He harkened back to the old days of Red Sox star systems (Clemens and his ear buds, for instance), and those teams couldn't win.

I liked his childlike joy, too, as I had enjoyed the contrast between Pedro's delight 4 days out of 5 and his game face, but Manny always thought of Manny first, last, and every time in between. Yeah, that's not rare in professional sports, but he was more glaring. Too many people had the same complaint.

The question now: Will harmony put wins up? Or would status quo ante have been better? I can't claim that I know.