Thursday, July 28, 2005

Manny being Manny & Other Stuff

Well, it looks like the media has finally had enough of "Manny being Manny" because today both Gordon Edes and Tony Massarotti go after the Martian left fielder. All this started a few days ago when Sports Illustrated reported that Manny has asked to be traded ... again ... for the third consecutive year. There are differing accounts on whether Ramirez actually made the request, if he was joking, or if he was just being weird -- of course these all came from people not named Manny, but that's a minor detail.

Anyway, yesterday the shinola hit the fan because Manny asked for a day off when the Red Sox could ill-afford it. Trot looks like he's headed for an extended trip to the DL, and with a dearth of outfielders, Francona might actually need Ramirez to, you know, play. Instead, Manny sat on the bench while Adam Stern played right and future Gold Glove winner, Kevin Millar manned left.

Here's what Edes said in today's Globe:
"Because he is the team's cleanup hitter, has Hall of Fame ability, and possesses a contract, the second-richest in the game, that makes him unmovable, Ramirez is rarely held accountable. ''Manny being Manny" has become as much a part of the New England lexicon as pahking the cah in Hahvahd Yahd. One day someone from within the Sox clubhouse or in the Yawkey Way offices will rise up and condemn him for his selfish indifference.

That day has yet to come, mainly because his bosses and his teammates feel like Ramirez is, in essence, holding the team hostage. Speak out against him, and the fear is that Ramirez will withdraw like a petulant child and go into a three-year pout. Let it slide, and you have a man with the potential of repeating as the World Series MVP."
The Herald's Massarotti adds this:
"All of this reflects most poorly on Ramirez, who is not a bad guy as much he is an astonishingly irresponsible one. Like Matt Damon in ``Good Will Hunting,'' Ramirez does not want the burden of his talent because, you know, someone might actually start to expect something from him. So he breezes along through life, worrying only about what matters to him (hitting, most of the time) and showing little regard for the wants and needs of others."
OK, the "Good Will Hunting" reference is a bit much, but I take his point. Personally, I would like to see Manny put forth the effort on a more consistent basis. And it can be infuriating to watch him jog half way down the first baseline on a double-play ground out. But this is also the guy who was the ALCS MVP who can single-handedly put this team on his back for a series.

But there will always be the "hamstring injuries," the "I don't feel well enough to come to the park" excuses only to find out that Manny spent the evening at a hotel bar with Enrique Wilson; and of course, the reoccurring days off he requests. Is this annoying? Yep. Can it alienate teammates? Sure. Could things be better? Without a doubt. But things could also be much, much worse (say hello to your new left fielder, Kevin Millar). And while I'm not condoning Manny's behavior (and I'm sure there are players on the team that would like to slap him around a bit), I'm not sure what the Red Sox can do to change things. $20 million a year will do that, I guess.

Eric of Off Wing Opinion has these thoughts about PTI the last few weeks:
Zero Tolerance For PTI
For some reason that I can't quite articulate, I stopped watching ESPN's PTI a couple of weeks ago. Time was, I'd be sure to watch a recording of the show not too long after dinner each night off the TiVo.

In any case, about two weeks back I checked in with the show, only to discover that Jason Whitlock and Michael Smith were filling in for Tony and Mike. And while I think Smith has some potential -- and a penchant for dealing with actual substance -- Whitlock just makes me want to shut the television off.
This is basically the same conversation I had with myself the last two weeks. PTI is the only watchable show left on ESPN and for two weeks it exemplified all the really crappy things about the network. Luckily Wilbon and Kornheiser are back. But that's not all, Screamin' A. Smith will be getting his own show soon as well. Brilliantly, it's called "Quite Frankly," an oh-so-clever play on the tired phrase he throws around whenever he's about to disagree with that witless monkey, Skip Bayless.

The good news is that soon, much like the evolution of MTV, there won't be any sports at all on ESPN, just a bunch of screaming idiots giving us their uninformed opinion. So keep an eye out for that.