“The Red Sox don’t deserve me,” Manny Ramirez told ESPNdeportes. Thursday, the team told Manny the feeling was mutual.
“The Red Sox don’t deserve me,” Manny Ramirez told ESPNdeportes.
Thursday, the team told Manny the feeling was mutual.
So today Manny is playing for a Dodgers team that is closer to first place than the Red Sox, and Jason Bay is the Boston piece of the pie in a three-team deal that took every breath of the trading deadline to go down.
The craziness is over with, at least around here. Manny being Manny in Hollywood is kind of mind-boggling, but at least Red Sox Nation can just sit back and laugh it off. He’s Joe Torre’s headache now. Manny used to terrorize Torre’s Yankees. Manny’s terrorizing of Torre may not be over.
I wish Manny nothing but the best in LA. I’m serious. In the big picture, what he was paid to do for the Red Sox he did, for nearly all of his eight years.
Yep, now and then he was a pain in the butt, on and off the field. Of far greater significance were the homers and doubles and runs batted in that made him a first ballot Hall of Famer. When you think dark thoughts of Manny, think ’04 and ’07 and let it go.
He could be the most engaging guy on the team, a manchild who would not let anyone know what was really going on inside. There were times when his teammates went along with Manny’s silliness. Remember when they let Manny think the team was taking the field to start the game, only to stop and watch Manny run out to left field by himself? He’d get out there, turn around and see the other eight guys still in the dugout.
Manny, of course, just smiled.
When he made that great catch in Baltimore, climbed the wall and high-fived a fan before firing the ball in to complete a double play, his teammates gathered in the dugout to watch the replay. They laughed.
But it was clear that the last hours of Manny Ramirez in a Red Sox uniform were no laughing matter. In recent days he was clearly forcing their hand to either a) pick up the option on his contract or b) trade him. By Tuesday night, it was a no-brainer for management.
The Red Sox were content to keep Manny until the end of the season, giving them the luxury of making the decision on him then. Manny, or his agent Scott Boras, smelled a rat.
For one thing, Manny wasn’t having a Manny-like season. His numbers have slipped in recent years. The Red Sox read the tea leaves. So did Boras/Manny. They wanted the guaranteed money now. They might have gotten it if Manny had a big August-September and the Red Sox made it to the World Series again.
Well, the Sox might be playing in mid-October, but Manny can’t help them get there. How’s this for Hollywood stuff: Red Sox and Dodgers meet in the World Series. YES-SS!
It was an accumulative Manny being Manny process that brought us to Thursday, but the incidents were coming amazing frequency the last couple of weeks.
Taking three strikes against Mariano Rivera without swinging the bat for the last out of a game had to fry his manager and teammates. When New York came here last week, he was in the lineup until Terry Francona was told that Manny’s knee was hurting. He couldn’t play that night. The Red Sox lost 1-0. Manny might have made a difference. He had sat out previous game in Seattle, the last of the road trip. The Sox managed to win in extra innings. They could’ve used Manny’s bat. It might have gotten the team home earlier from a grueling West Coast trip.
Tuesday at Fenway, the Angels’ John Lackey was working on a no-hitter. Manny failed to run out a grounder in the hole that might have been an infield hit. The fans booed Manny louder than they ever have.
Even more telling, a number of Sox players in the dugout just looked away in disgust. It’s one thing to be flakey. A quitter is never going to cut it, especially one making $20 million and with a rep for not running hard.
In the clubhouse, his teammates were biting their tongues, concealing what they were really thinking. It was time for number 24 to go. Finally, unequivocally, he WAS a distraction. No more mulligans for Manny.
While all this is going on, Manny was talking more than he’d ever talked before. It might have been from the heart, but none of it was pretty. He told ESPNdesportes “I’ve seen how they mistreated other great players when they didn’t want them … the Red Sox did the same with Nomar Garciaparra and Pedro Martinez.”
Excuse me? Nomar balked at a $12 million multi-year contract, became unhappy in the Hub and was sent to the Cubs and got paid far less. Now he’s with the Dodgers and has almost as many injuries as hits.
Right move, Red Sox.
Martinez wanted a long-term deal for big bucks. He got it. From the Mets. How’s that working out?
Right move, Red Sox.
Athletes are always saying their sport is a business. It works two ways. It was a business for Manny when he came here and sucked up all that John Henry gold. Thursday, the Red Sox said, “Enough.”
Strictly business, you understand. And it’s business that may backfire from a Boston perspective. Manny may do great things for the Dodgers. Jason Bay may melt under the hot lights at Fenway. The fans will buy him some time. But if Manny goes on a tear and Bay’s hitting .190 after two weeks, God help him.
As a fan I got more than my money’s worth from Manny. As a sportswriter and occasional on-air guy I’ve been able to express my opinions about him. It had come to the point of no return. The Red Sox had to do this.
Lenny Megliola is a Daily News columnist. His e-mail is email@example.com