Manny was going to have a day off in Chicago the other day, we talked him out of it, at the time I said "to me Wednesday would be a better day." And then after last night's game we did go to him and say "Hey look, we're in a little bit of a bind now" and he goes "I still need it." So we're gonna sit Manny so he'll have tonight and tomorrow.And so, one day after Francona said "You guys can have fun with [the Manny-wants-out rumors] because I know it'll have some legs for a couple of days," Tito himself guaranteed it some extra mileage.
The first thing that hit me is that Francona was so blunt in speaking about one of his players. And note that he and Ramirez discussed this the night before. So Francona, after a night's sleep, some conversations (I assume) with Theo Epstein, and lots of time to think about it, didn't put forth some excuse (i.e., lie) and didn't cite Manny's hamstrings -- he told the truth. (And Manny didn't reconsider and go to Francona on Wednesday morning.) ... Francona must be highly pissed off.
Gordon Edes (Globe) says Ramirez is "unmovable", "rarely held accountable" and "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."
We're in a pennant race and battling a lot of adversity -- injuries and otherwise. It's times like these when you find out about your team and your players. More than ever, we need all 25 players pulling together, putting the team first in pursuit of victory. It's our responsibility to get there, and I think we will. I have a lot of faith in our players -- all of them -- and in the entire organization.It's no secret that the Sox would like to not pay the remainder of Ramirez's contract. Once his hitting skills start to decline -- something some fans fear has already started -- he will not be very valuable at all. What's less clear -- because none of us play for the Red Sox or work in the front office, and because no one on the inside has gone on the record -- is how the club really feels about Manny. There have been hints, and every fan has an opinion, but we simply do not know.
David Heuschkel (Courant) says that the clubhouse reaction "wasn't as negative as it probably will be on the talk shows today." He quotes Millar:
Days off are all part of it. You're human. You might have some tightness. You might have some sore muscles. For certain guys, they need days off. Manny plays every day. ... This gives him two days off to refresh. It was a perfect time, playing the Devil Rays and we got a day off the next day. That's unfair [to criticize him]. People don't understand the grind of every day.and Ortiz:
I don't know [if any players were disappointed in Ramirez refusing to play]. I got no comment about that. ... He was ready in the dugout just in case we needed him. People better leave Manny alone. That's what they need to do. Leave the guy alone, let him do what he's supposed to, stop questioning him and go from there.More Ortiz: "You think if Manny wanted to be traded only one reporter in Boston would know? Manny isn't unhappy. If he was unhappy, we all would know." ... Of course, this is the Ortiz who said Pedro "ain't going to no Mets."
Heuschkel adds that "players might have questioned his commitment to the team if the Red Sox didn't beat the Devil Rays," which makes no sense to me. ... If players are upset, they should be upset whether the end result was a win or a loss.
Tony Massarotti (Herald):
Twenty million a year clearly is not what it used to be, because it cannot buy you even a hint of compassion, pride, sacrifice or dedication. All it seems to get you is blank stares and apathy, along, of course, with an annual request to be traded. ... All of this reflects most poorly on Ramirez, who is not a bad guy as much he is an astonishingly irresponsible one.Yesterday, Massarotti wrote this:
Let's get something straight here: Ramirez never has been happy in Boston. Never, ever, ever. We might go so far as to suggest that Ramirez never has been truly happy anywhere, but none of us is really capable of knowing that. What we do know, for certain, is Ramirez has spent almost as much energy trying to leverage his way out of Boston over the past five years as he has knocking in runs.There are several things going on here:
1. We don't know the exact condition of Ramirez's hamstrings. If they are truly hurting, then this discussion should be pretty short. It's the reason he jogged out the grounder on Tuesday night and that's the reason he needed yesterday off. I'd rather have him on the bench for one game against last-place Tampa Bay rather than going on the DL for at least two weeks.
2. Is Francona letting Ramirez have the final say about playing? If Tito believes Manny can play, he should pencil him into the lineup and then see if he refuses to take the field or bat. If Ramirez was promised a day off -- and he says he's hurting and needs a day to heal -- what is Francona supposed to do?
3. I'm willing to believe the reporters covering the Red Sox know a lot of things about the team and individual players that never make the papers, but instead of merely hinting at these things -- and acting like privileged insiders -- they need to let us know what they are basing these conclusions on.
SoSHer Bernie Carbohydrate has some interesting points:
[H]as it occurred to those who lay into Manny--from Edes to Mazz on down to the enraged EEI callers--that "Manny being Manny" means exactly what it means?The Herald's Inside Track accepted some blame for all of this: "[D]on't shoot the messengers here, but Manny's latest temper tantrum comes just days after we rang up the Sox to inquire whether Mrs. Manny is preggers." ... What is odd about the privacy complaint is that it comes less than two weeks after Manny, his wife and son posed for a huge spread in the Boston Globe's Sunday magazine, complete with pictures of Manny Jr.'s Fenway-themed bedroom.
In other words, Manny can no more take the game seriously all the time than Belli could steal 30 bases this season, or Trot could hit lefties, or Wake could touch 95 on the radar gun?
It is easy for us to forgive physical shortcomings -- Damon has a weak arm, so we live with it and focus on what he does well -- but mental shortcomings or personality defects get massive SoSH threads and columnists in a lather. Now I'm not saying that all ballplayers are above criticism, but after a while you've gotta concede that each player is a set of strengths and weaknesses, and one of Manny's major, fundamental and permanent weaknesses is his attitude.
How come we don't get column inches devoted to how Wade Miller's lack of endurance is a "disgrace to the uniform?" Because that is seen as a physical defect, and something over which Miller has no control. But very few people are willing to concede that individuals sometimes have little control over their mental makeup as well. Do the asses in your life want to be asses or are they just that way?
Being momentarily annoyed with Manny is understandable, but there is no reason to think that if he just cared a little more, or if he'd just try a little harder, he'd grow a Chris Sabo attitude to go with his Dick Allen talent. It isn't gonna happen.
But then there is this from the Globe's Living Arts section:
Manny Ramirez and his wife, Juliana, are expecting their second child, and contrary to some reports, No. 24's been bragging about it all over town. ... "Secrets aren't the Ramirez family. We want Red Sox Nation to know us," Juliana said. "People recognize Manny Jr. when he walks down the street." Juliana said she knew the jig was up when David Ortiz's wife, Tiffany, recently congratulated her. And how did the bride of Big Papi know there was a baby on deck? Manny announced it in the clubhouse, of course. Juliana said she was even praised the other day by a salesperson at the Ermenegildo Zegna store on Newbury Street ... As for the Sports Illustrated item insinuating that the proud papa is unhappy in Boston and wants out, Juliana had this to say: "Manny hasn't told me anything about that. As a family, we love Boston and love living here."Stay tuned.
In other matters, Trot Nixon was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique strain. He could miss up to a month. ... Mike Timlin has a sore right elbow, but says he needs nothing more than rest. That was why he was unavailable last night. ... Curt Schilling on pitching for the third day in a row: "If you're the bullpen and you're not hurt, I can't see myself not being available if I'm down there. You can still get people out if you don't feel great." ... People in Hyde Park are excited about Manny Delcarmen's debut.
I remember the whole thing. I remember laying there and knowing what happened to me, but not panicking. The hardest part was I didn't really start getting scared until I was coming off the field and I started thinking about my wife and two boys ...Sox are off tonight.
I just remember it ricocheting off my head, laying on the ground, and looking over toward first base, with kind of a ringing sensation in my ear. ... I wouldn't call it intense pain. It was more of a shock, knowing what happened ... Missing starts isn't really in my vocabulary, but I've got to be smart about it because it is my head. ... As of now I'm planning on everything going fine. I'm not going to be stupid enough to sit here and say I'm going to make my next start.