Steve Buckley's column in today's Herald is headlined: "All-Star Shame: Ramirez, Sox make mockery of 'Classic'"
Buckley writes that this isn't
a case of a player pulling up lame a few days before The Big Game ... No, this was something carefully orchestrated over a period of weeks ... Seems as though they started working the phones to keep Manny out of the All-Star Game during spring training, doesn't it?First of all, Steve, you are not sorry. What's the point of beginning your final sentence with an apology for everything that came before it? If you were actually sorry for what you were writing, you'd have hit the delete key and typed up something else for your readers.
The Red Sox kept talking about Manny's knee, Manny's knee, Manny's knee, Manny's knee, to the point that I expected Jerry Lewis to appear as the host of a telethon to raise funds for life-saving surgery for the ailing left fielder. ...
The Sox are going to get away with this because their millions of fans will believe the bit about getting poor Manny healthy for the stretch run. ...
Is he hurt a little? Sure. But it's July. Everybody has aches and pains.
Sorry, something's not right with this.
But really, what can you say? Is it not common knowledge that Manny Ramirez has had problems with his hamstrings and knees for many years? Or is it Buckley's contention that Ramirez has been scheming to duck out of the 2006 All-Star Game since 1998?
With interleague play and the Extra Innings cable package, fans all across the country (and world) can see every single team play on an almost nightly basis. This isn't 1957, when fans in some cities could never see the stars of the other league in action.
And imagine if Manny did grab his bat and head off to Pittsburgh, got hurt, and ended up missing six weeks? (Everyone -- even the members of Boston sporting press -- agrees that if not for Manny hitting behind David Ortiz, Papi would get far fewer hittable pitches than he now sees.) So what would Buckley's angle be in that case?
Manny clearly doesn't care about his team's chances in the pennant race. No, he had to go to Pittsburgh for a meaningless exhibition game ("this time it counts"? please), rather than think that his teammates just might welcome his potent bat against the Yankees in August and September. So when Big Papi racks up those BBIs instead of bashing walk-off home runs, just remember where the blame lies. At the feet of selfish Manny Ramirez.
If anyone still wonders why Manny doesn't waste his time chatting with most of the local media, just keep this column (and the approximately 23,856 previous potshots he's taken since coming to Boston) in mind.
It must be very difficult for a columnist to grind out copy day after day after day. I understand that. But in this case, turning in a blank sheet of paper would have been the wise choice for Buckley. The Herald could have run a list Ramirez's Hall of Fame stats in its place.