Saturday, July 30, 2005

What Red Sox Nation Is Saying About Manny

From Chris Lynch's blog:

I thought the MVP of the Red Sox first World Series win since 1918 would have to be found in bed with the proverbial dead girl or live boy to be getting the treatment Manny has gotten from the media this year.

I have no doubt in my mind that if Ted Williams played in this day of free agency - the Boston "knights of the keyboard" would have long ago driven him from town. Has Manny spent time in left field pretending to swing a bat while a ball is being hit at him? Given the home crowd the finger? Yup - no doubt in my mind that Williams would have long bailed out of Boston because of the negative press.

From Wallball Single:

Boy, you’d think Manny was caught picking up kittens from the humane society and murdering them in his home.

Now, do I wish Manny hustled every moment? Sure. But he doesn’t. At some point in a season, he’s gonna go through a little stretch where the air flows out of him. He’ll blow a couple defensive plays in a row. He’ll jog down the line. But then he’ll lock back in and hit .380 for 3 weeks.

From Joy of Sox:

So, Huff and Cameron for Manny, Sanchez and Shoppach?!? You have got to be kidding me. ... "More pieces"? Pedro?
From Fenway Nation:

I say, resoundingly, “Don’t do it!"...Does anyone out there in the Nation think that we can get anywhere near equivalent value for Manny? Mike Cameron! Aubrey Huff! Not in this sector of the Milky Way. The only positive result that can come out of a Manny dump is the salary relief—not an inconsequential factor. But, where does that leave the 2005 prospects of your first-place, defending World Champions? Forget it. Throw this entire year out the window. Our slogan could be “Look For The Fix In '06!”

From Red Sox Reality Check:

How much passion is enough? At times, Manny makes dynamic catches, and his twelve outfield assists aren't enough. But you can't put up numbers on the bench, and how can't Terry Francona feel 'torqued off' by Manny. Obviously, Manny is a sensitive guy, and he's good with the younger players, and most of the fans recognize the man can flat out hit. The Sox knew what they were getting when they brought the elephant to the party, hoping their fence would get knocked down. Now they reap what they sow.

L'affaire ROOTS (Royal Order of The Splinter) only answers to 'saving face'. Manny played hookey, and can best extricate himself, Terry Francona, the team, and management with a simple apology. I truly believe that he was tired, and wanted a day off. Hell, I'm tired and want a day off. A true professional works through it, 'sucking it up', but who among us doesn't have some shortcomings. Yeah, we don't make twenty million, but sometimes we forget to show up for an event, or don't pay a bill on time, or don't tell our wife and kids that we love them often enough. It's never enough. Honestly.

Manny doesn't have to kiss anybody's butt here. A simple 'I am truly sorry and will try to do better,' is enough.

From 12-8:

Does it piss me off when he doesn't run out a ground ball? Damn right it does. Same with when he misses an easy fly ball, or gets nailed trying to turn a bloop single into a double. And we all have every right to get mad about those things, because they are events that lessen our team's chance of winning.

Where some cross the line, however, is the point where those criticisms become indictments. Somewhere along the line, disappointment starts to look like betrayal. That's the point where we need to step back. The life of a fan is a frustrating one; we don't play the game, or influence the team in any meaningful way on a personal level, yet we care. They are the team, and we want them to care as we do. We want to see fire like we see in ourselves. And when we don't, rooting for them with that level of passion seems hollow. Why do I care so much what Manny does when Manny doesn't seem to?

But that's not Manny's fault; it's ours.

We don't really know Manny Ramirez. None of us do. We think we do, because to us he's an image on a screen, or a line in the box score. He's a baseball player, the epitome of our dreams. But we don't know him. We don't know what he wants, what he thinks, what he feels. We don't know what's going through his mind when he faces down Mariano Rivera, or rounds first after a homer, or stands in left field, or runs to first after a ground ball. In the end, does it matter? For us, baseball is a game, a hobby, a passion, or a way of life. For some baseball players it is too. For others, it is a business, a job, a way of supporting their families. Maybe that matters to us, but should it? When Keith Foulke tells us that the thing he likes most about closing is the paycheck, we get angry, but how many of us haven't said the exact same thing about our jobs? We may put spiritual meaning into baseball, but that doesn't mean the players have to. They get paid to do a job.

Manny's job is to play baseball, and to help the Red Sox win ballgames. He does it extremely well. That should be our only criteria; when we start applying our own motives to theirs, we'll be disappointed every time.

No comments: