Players who care don't leave games after getting hit by pitches that wouldn't have hurt a Little Leaguer.My perception is that Tomase was a decent writer, mostly free from the agendas that drive many Boston sportswriters. But after reading this piece last month (a lot of accusations and very few, if any, sources), I wasn't so sure. In his follow-up, answering readers' mail, Tomase laughed the whole thing off.
Players who care don't seek days off like the office hypochondriac.
Ramirez has done all of these things in a brazen affront to the organization and a metaphorical middle finger to its fans. The days of writing off his behavior as quirky are over. He's robbing the Red Sox and more than indirectly contributing to the cost of baseball's highest tickets. ...
So while the fans take out their frustration on players like Millar and Mark Bellhorn, who barely make $6 million a year between them, Ramirez coasts along, hitting .260, disappearing in the clutch and taking the occasional day off.
Tomase's article (or a slightly rewritten version) is getting a wider audience as the cover story of the July issue of Boston Baseball. There are gratuitous insults at Manny elsewhere in the magazine. A short paragraph about Trot Nixon begins with this sentence: "Manny Ramirez looks for reasons to leave the lineup." ... One other complaint about Boston Baseball: For every player on the Red Sox roster, BB lists uniform number, name, bat-throw information, height, weight, date of birth and salary.
I'm not in Boston, so I don't know if Tomase's hatchet job got a lot of attention or if it sparked a resurgence (among media or fans) in Manny-bashing. But at Fenway on Wednesday afternoon, several fans around me were quite freely ragging on Ramirez. They mentioned his salary (as though they actually pay it) and his trip into the scoreboard on Monday night. They called him lazy when Kevin Millar took over in left field in the fourth inning. (There was tightness in his hamstring and Tito wisely decided to rest him with the score 7-0 and the White Sox series coming up.)
Speaking of Monday night, Bruce Allen was at the game and has a different take than what the media is dishing out:
[I] saw Manny go into the wall, saw him come out, and didn't think it was nearly as close to Miller's next pitch as many media people are making it out be. If anything, his timing was just right. Trot Nixon and Johnny Damon were kneeling together in the outfield, midway between right and center field and they were settling back in to their positions at the same time Manny was getting to his. But ... this is Manny, so everything he does that's different is going to be magnified around here. There's been talk about his running out of the box ... last night, he hustled out of the box on a foul ground ball, on his home run, and even when he got walked."I have a hard time seeing this -- and similar cracks about Pedro Martinez -- in any terms other than race. I wish I had more concrete examples of it. If any obsessive reader out there has saved some examples, send them in.
One obvious counterpoint to Manny is Trot Nixon. The pine-tarred, dirt dog has his head up his ass both in the field (forgetting how many outs there are, throwing to the wrong bases, taking poor routes on fly balls/hits) and on the bases (getting picked off second base was a recent bonehead play) pretty often. He is now wearing his uniform shirt with the top three buttons undone. Yet he gets about 1/20th of the shit Manny does.
So in watching my tape of last night's game (a sick dog forced me to use the VCR), I was glad to see Manny get the eventual game-winning hit in the top of the ninth. After Joe Crede dropped an easy foul pop near the third base stands, Manny pounded the next pitch into the left field stands for his 26th home run.
The blast broke a 5-5 tie and gave the Sox and Curt Schilling, who had blown the save in the previous inning, the win. ... Edgar Renteria went 3-for-3 with a walk, two runs scored and an RBI. Johnny Damon scored twice.
In Anaheim, Vladimir Guererro belted a seventh-inning grand slam off Tom Gordon to beat the Yankees 6-5. Boston leads New York by 1.5 games and Baltimore by 2.5.
Wakefield / Garland at 8:00.