White Hat Sports Headlines

Sunday, July 27, 2008

There's Something about Manny

Picture it, it's one minute shy of 11pm on Sunday night. The Red Sox are comfortably leading the Yankees 7-2 in the bottom of the 6th, in a series that has been a let down since game one in terms of competitiveness and drama. All anybody wanted to talk about heading into this contest was Manny Ramirez and his comments made before the game. By the way, wasn't everybody happier when Manny didn't talk to anybody? I mean hell, the guy was placed on irrevocable waivers and never uttered a peep, and now suddenly the guy makes Curt Schilling look like Harpo Marx. The Manny talk was reaching a Favre-ish pitch even making it rain in Boston to push the game back an hour, just so John Kruk, Karl Ravech and Buster Olney could have more time to talk about Manny.

In the previous post on this very website, my compatriot (by the way, compatriot is defiantly my word of the month) Mr. Jackson made the argument that Shaughnessy and Bob Lobel are now running Manny out of town like they have with other players in Boston that they didn't like. Jackson listed Nomar as the player that Shaughnessy ran out of town when the most important person that Shaughnessy had the most influence over their departure was Theo Epstein. If you read Seth Mnookin's tremendous book "Feeding the Monster" (which should be mandatory reading for any Red Sox fan the way Drive: The Story of My Life by Larry Bird is for Celtics fans) he chronicles how Shaughnessy's column on a Sunday made Epstein leave the Red Sox on Halloween 2005. I'm not defending anybody in these situations, I even had Dan on my radio show the following week and asked about the GM situation now that Epstein was gone. But the history of writers influences teams and seemingly "pushing"athletes out of town.

~The Colonel Dave Egan tried for years to push Ted Williams out of town but never did it. Instead he waged a battle that lasted Williams entire career in Boston.

~Everybody remembers the battle between Dan Duquette and Roger Clemens and before Clemens was viewed as a criminal in the court of public opinion he was shown as a vindicated hero forced out of town by the management who dropped the infamous "twilight of his career" line. What people forget though was the battle that worn on between Roger Clemens and the late Will McDonough, who went as far as calling Clemens the "Texas Con-man". McDonough had a great relationship though with John Harrington, who was stingy to the nth degree and didn't want to pay anybody, so McDonough was used to paint an unflattering portrait of superstars heading towards free agency. Which brings me to .......give me a moment........this one is still painful.

~Mo Vaughn......Sniffle. McDonough carried out the wishes of Harrington when he decided that he wasn't going to pay market value for a team leader like Vaughn but would pay above market for guys like Dante Bichette and Jose Offerman. I blame Harrington for this, but McDonough was his mouthpiece that tried to make it right in the public. As you can tell, they never won me over.

(Somebody just gave Mariano Rivera a Wet Willy in the bullpen. Wow, that's all I can say, wow.)

Game note: Jacoby Ellsbury has 3 hits tonight batting 9th. I love this move by Terry, I've seen it done before and it takes the pressure off younger guys. Plus he can still set the table, because as we know to get to the lead off hitter after the first inning it helps if your number 9 guy can get aboard for him. In this case, isn't it a good thing to have people on base for the American Dream Dustin Pedroia? Back to the column.

We've been in a similar situation with Manny before oh ye of short term memories. It was three years ago and I remember where I was and who I was with the entire week. I was working at a summer camp and the clientele of the camp were kids from New York, DC and a few from Boston. We were on the big trip at he end of the summer which just happened to be in Boston and it was the week leading up to the trading deadline which was great because at the camp it was tough to find out news as it happened because there was only one TV. On the trip all the kids and I were plugged into ESPN the whole time and I was constantly checking my cellphone for updates. Manny was heading out of town to the New York Mets for a package of prospects and the only one I remember from the group was Lastings Milledge (oy vey). Well the kids that were staying with me were all Mets fans as a majority of the kids at the camp were aside from a few bandwagon Yankee kids, for them I made them run laps. So for two days I was surrounded by Met fans who were making jokes like "Can we go to Olympia Sports? I want to get my new Manny Ramirez jersey!"

It was a long trip, but it was fun looking back on it. One day we were out on Martha's Vineyard and everybody there who knew anything was in a panic about Manny. There was something about being on the island that just made me feel isolated, maybe it was the sketchy cell phone service, or the fact that there is water everywhere you look, but I couldn't help but feel like I could have changed something from happening if I was on the main land. Two days later back at the camp I was the biggest celebrity in camp because I had my Dad calling me with Manny updates on July 31st and guess what, nothing happened. Manny stayed in Boston and two seasons later, contributed to another World Series Champion.

I will leave you with one final thought after seeing Manny put out an effort tonight and seems like he won't phone in the final two months of this season.

Will Manny still want the extra 5 million dollars he says he wants now, if he's sipping Champagne for the 3rd time this October?

Sterling Pingree

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