January 17, 2004

Mannyball 2004. According to Gene Mato, one of Manny Ramirez's agents, Manny called John Henry on December 6 "and told him he didn't want to be traded. ... The best thing that happened to this team is the trade didn't go down. ... Manny seems to be real excited about this year. He started working out about three days after the Red Sox lost to the Yankees, and he's probably in better shape right now than he was at any time last year. Get ready. Get ready for this year. He is going in angry. ... [I]t's tough for Manny to hear how people say that none of this fazed him. It did faze him. He doesn't deny complaining several times throughout the year ... [but] it had nothing to do with the fans. He loves Boston."

Ramirez, a huge Patriots fan, has decided to not attend the AFC Championship game this weekend because he believes that if he is shown on the scoreboard, "everybody will start booing him." ... I would hope that Ramirez's worries are as unfounded as Tim Wakefield's fears were. Okay, Ramirez doesn't love everything about his job; who does? Some of his discontent has to be because of the media, which because he doesn't speak to them, rip him -- lying about his meeting with Enrique Wilson last season -- or take condescending potshots -- "Manny probably isn't even aware of a possible A-Rod deal."

I'll bet Manny is very aware of the Boston press. And either he is uncomfortable talking in public, feels he has nothing to say or believes anything he says will be taken the wrong way. [Get a SoSH account! It works for Curt!] I don't care what Manny's reasons for keeping quiet are. All I care about is how he performs on the ball field and in that regard, there is nothing for Red Sox fans to complain about. And if Ramirez is in fantastic shape, angry and ready to (re)prove himself to the world, all I can say is I'm glad he's on our side.

Trot Nixon is close to signing a three-year contract that would pay him between $6-7 million annually; Nixon turns 30 in April. ... LHP Nick Bierbrodt inked a one-year deal. ... MLB reports that Boston's pitchers and catchers will be in camp on February 20. Yay!

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