March 1, 2008

Donaldson: Self-Centered Manny Turned His Back On War Vets

I don't make it a habit to link to (or even comment on) Jim Donaldson's columns for the Providence Journal. His work rarely rises above the type of comments you'd hear around the coffee machine at work. ... And some readers aren't fond of my politics.

Nevertheless ...

On Thursday, Donaldson wrote that Manny Ramirez was wrong to skip the team's trip to Washington, DC -- not so much for the White House ceremony, but for the subsequent visit to Walter Reed Army Medical Center:
[Ramirez] was delighted, upon passing his citizenship test a few years ago, to run out to left field at Fenway waving a small American flag. ... It's easy to wave a flag. What's not so easy is to defend that flag.

When it came time for payback, to do a little something for servicemen who help make it possible for Ramirez to make as much money as he does, Manny couldn't be bothered. ...

Instead of visiting veterans, some of whom lost limbs in the service of their country, Manny opted to stay in Florida. Even sitting in first class, it could be uncomfortable, not to mention inconvenient, flying for a few hours. Not quite like the discomfort endured by a wounded 19-year-old having to walk with the aid of a prosthetic device for the rest of his life, but, Manny being Manny, it's doubtful that thought ever crossed his self-centered mind. ...

[T]urning his back on hospitalized veterans?

That's inexcusable and unforgivable.

It's also Manny, being Manny.
So Iraq needed to be invaded so baseball players like Manny Ramirez could continue being offered multi-million dollar contracts? Well, that's a rationale I have not heard.

First of all, I have no idea why Manny decided to stay in Florida. I don't know what he thinks about any political issue -- if he's ever has spoken out, I've forgotten about it. However, I think it's more than a coincidence that he has skipped both White House trips. My guess? Manny doesn't like Bush.

But here's my point (and why this post is actually more about the media): Suppose I'm right. How would Donaldson react if Manny, after touring Walter Reed, gave an impassioned statement about how he believed Bush was solely to blame for the missing arms and legs and eyes of these men and women? What if he had said, to borrow some of Donaldson's own words,
I'm grateful that I have been able to live a blessed life in this country -- you remember when I carried a little flag out on the field after I became a citizen -- but these servicemen -- they thought they were defending their country -- but there was no threat. They have been exploited and used by their government and I think it's horrible that they are the only ones that have had to pay a price for their country's mistakes.
Would Donaldson rush to his typewriter to wax patriotic that Ramirez was exercising his right of free speech -- a right that Donaldson, judging from this column, believes is being defending in Iraq?

I doubt it. Direct and implied praise for the war is quoted by sportswriters without comment, or with admiration. A statement such as what I wrote above -- while also expressing a political opinion, albeit one from the other side of aisle -- would likely ignite a firestorm.

48 comments:

L-girl said...

Nice. Thanks for articulating this.

It's a larger version of what I used to endure at the Stadium all the time. (See comments on that earlier thread.)

Hey, can you give me Donaldson's email address? I'd like to send him a link to this post.

redsock said...

The two things are connected -- public perspection of political comments.

Donaldson's address was not at the bottom of the column, but based on the beat writers' emails, I guessed and emailed him with a note that he might be interested in the post.

L-girl said...

Cool. Glad you did.

Maxwell Horse said...

"...some readers aren't fond of my politics."

On the other hand, it is precisely -because- of your politics, and posts such as this one, that make Joy of Sox unique and one of my favorite Sox blogs to visit.

[On that note, I think literally every single other Sox blog that mentioned the trip to the White House had some variation on the idea of, "What an honor it would be to meet with the President, no matter your political views." Uh, yeah. That makes sense. "No matter if you enjoy the smell of poop or not, you should be honored to roll around in raw sewage."]

redsock said...

So what was Manny doing?

Meditating.

"I was doing meditation in my house ... That's what I do now. In my time off, I read books [history books, mostly of the DR] and I meditate. That's what I do."

(CHB column expressing surprise that Manny reads in 10 ... 9 ... 8 ...)

Re Bush: "I feel good, it made me feel important - the president is thinking about me," said Ramirez with a deep laugh.

redsock said...

Horse: Funny you should mention sewage.

L-girl said...

"No matter if you enjoy the smell of poop or not, you should be honored to roll around in raw sewage."

:-)

Jere said...

Of course, Theo Epstein, the clean-cut white guy, surely must have missed the White House trip because he was at some very important meeting on why baseball heroes should defend America against evil-doers.

"literally every single other Sox blog that mentioned the trip to the White House had some variation on the idea of, "What an honor it would be to meet with the President, no matter your political views."

Literally every one? Come on, MH, I know you've been to my blog before. Here's what I wrote: "The team should be shaking W's cold, blood-stained hand in about ten minutes." I hope my photo gallery of the trip wasn't construed as "look at this great honor"--more like, Here's a bunch of pictures of the Red Sox no one else has.

Jack Marshall said...

Redsock: The attack on Manny was unfair, unjust, and stupid. He has no obligation to visit hospitals or do PR stops for Bush, and he is free, like the rest of us, to support or not support the country, military, wounded vets, kids with cancer, abused puppies, and any other cause, regardless of whether you and I agree on whether it is worthwhile or not.

It's not Manny being Manny, it's Manny being an American. Donaldson is a complete jackass, and until your post, I was blissfully unaware of his existence as a blight on common sense. Thanks a bunch. All I need is ANOTHER moron in my life...

redsock said...

until your post, I was blissfully unaware of his existence as a blight on common sense. Thanks a bunch. All I need is ANOTHER moron in my life...

Sorry about that!

Trust me, there are puh-lenty of other morons out there you have no idea about.

My email to Donaldson has not been kicked back. (Does gmail do that?) We'll see if he replies.

Maxwell Horse said...

Jere, you're right. I shouldn't have used the word "literally." It was an exaggeration. But anyway, a -lot- of the Sox blogs that mentioned the White House trip expressed a phrase like that. And to me it seemed like such a specific sentiment, while at the same time being completely counter to logic, that the numbers became amplified for me. (That's my excuse, anyway.)

Maxwell Horse said...

Not sure if my last comment made it. But anyway...

"I hope my photo gallery of the trip wasn't construed as "look at this great honor..."

Nah, it looked fine. I didn't infer anything neoconish from your presentation. (Although I admit, seeing various Red Sox players joking around with Bush and Cheney like they're kids meeting Santa Claus kind of makes me queasy, no matter the context.)

Zenslinger said...

I wouldn't be caught dead in the White House until late January of next year and only then if an exorcist or three had come through the place before me.

I kind of wonder what level of the team you have to be at to have no real choice in the matter. I mean, if Francona votes Green and is a vegetarian peacenik...he has to swallow his feelings and go, doesn't he?

redsock said...

if Francona votes Green and is a vegetarian peacenik...he has to swallow his feelings and go, doesn't he?

Yeah, but maybe he'd wear a peace button on his lapel.

tjl30 said...

Hey interesting post, I think your right in not doing what Donaldson does. His rant sounded like something strait out of fox news.

tim said...

=) Good read, excellent comparison. This guy does sound like he deserves a spot on Faux News (sidenote: check out the video on that page and how ridiculous it is!).

Props to Manny for basically saying he had better things to do than waste his time in (with) that cesspool of filth up in DC.

Texas Gal said...

Well, maxwell - you raised the issue on my blog, not me. My blog post didn't say anything about politics, one way or the other - I only responded when you tried to raise the political issue in the comments. So I said a variation on that sentiment purely to (politely) shut down political talk.

I respect any one else who wants to talk politics on their blogs (or on other's blogs!) - and applaud them for it - but I don't like politics dragged into mine, and I've said as much on a few occasions. I'll let redsock and Jere and others like him who are far better suited (with stronger stomachs) do that instead.

L-girl said...

"politics dragged in"

I think the WH visit itself brings politics into it.

X-ref Redsock's post re neutral vs political. Can't provide the link right now. Some of us actually have work to do!

L-girl said...

I kind of wonder what level of the team you have to be at to have no real choice in the matter. I mean, if Francona votes Green and is a vegetarian peacenik...he has to swallow his feelings and go, doesn't he?

That's an interesting question. I think going wearing a peace button on his lapel would be considered an outrage and more inflammatory than not going. Although that shouldn't be the case, of course.

We know from comments here and there that there are players with more liberal views. I wonder how they would deal with it.

Texas Gal said...

Again - I totally respect that opinion. But just like redsock shouldn't be forced to talk about fashion on his blog because the guys were wearing snazzy suits, I shouldn't be forced to talk politics on my sports blog.

That's what makes the spectrum of Sox blogs so great -- if you are interested in talking politics, redsock (and Jere and others) will certainly have your back. I just don't include that in my blog.

L-girl said...

"I shouldn't be forced to talk politics on my sports blog."

Oh god no. Everyone should blog about whatever they want, and not blog about whatever they don't want.

Speaking as someone who has taken all kinds of shit for what I post and don't post, that's a golden rule of blogging, as far as I'm concerned.

SoSock said...

Interesting reading tonight.
I don't applaud Manny for not going, but I certainly don't fault him for it. His choice, that's all.
I'm as appalled by this administration as anyone I know. I consider it by far the worst since I've been old enough to be aware of these things, even over the Nixon dictatorship. I can't wait for it to end, although I don't expect any sudden outpouring of actual humanity from DC no matter who replaces him.
Having said that, if I were given the opportunity to visit the White House, take the tour, get some "behind the scenes looks" and some rare photo ops, and continue what has become a baseball tradition lately, I'd go.
I could be civil enough to shake the man's hand, and nod blandly while thinking "damn, maybe my only shot and I get this bozo. I hope like hell we win it again in the next 4".
Maybe Manny really just didn't want to stray from his focus right now, or maybe he was making a statement.
Maybe he's just that confident he'll get another chance this year, and he'll get to visit with someone he doesn't actually detest.
I'll go with that one. More power to him.

L-girl said...

"Having said that, if I were given the opportunity to visit the White House, take the tour, get some "behind the scenes looks" and some rare photo ops, and continue what has become a baseball tradition lately, I'd go.
I could be civil enough to shake the man's hand"

That's disappointing.

Maxwell Horse said...

Hmmmm, maybe I should've chosen my words more carefully in my original post. I guess what I really meant to say was that it seemed that most blogs (and posts in various forums) that gave an -opinion- (one way or another) concerning how nice or not nice it would be to meet the president, the overwhelming majority made a (perplexing) blanket statement that of course it would be a great thing "no matter ones political views."

What was innaccurate in my original post was me implying that such a sentiment was presented in those blogs that merely mentioned the White House visit without bringing up the "Is this an honor or not?" question. Of course, there were many, such as Texas Gal's blog, that simply posted pictures of the Red Sox players in a politically neutral way.

TexasGal, my comments on Joy of Sox were in no way meant as a reference to your great blog. I do remember attempting to post something recently in your blog. But it was meant in the spirit of casual/friendly "does this bother anyone else?" one-off comment, rather than any kind of serious indictment or an attempt to start an unfun debate. However, when I went to post, I got an error message and subsequently never saw my post, so I assumed it never went through. Likewise, I didn't even know that you'd made any response to it. I think your blog is great, and it was the furthest thing from my mind when I made my observation/complaint above.

Texas Gal said...

"Everyone should blog about whatever they want, and not blog about whatever they don't want."

Are you telling me I'm not going to be able to force you to blog about the Dallas Cowboys?! Dang! :)

9casey said...

Jesus....I think a lot of overthinking is going into this issue......redsock said it best in the post when he said it was Manny Being Manny.....

To think Manny is staging some kind of protest by not going seems farfetched.....

Does anyone really think it went down this way:
Red Sox PR person: Hey Manny we are all going to the White House

Manny: No way , I am against everything this man stands for , so hell no I won't do it...

or was it more like this

Red Sox PR person: Hey Manny we are all going to the white house...

Manny : Cool , have fun .I'll be in the cage..


For a jounalist to actually report this like Manny stood up- soldiers and the President is laughable...In my opinion he could just care less.........

Texas Gal said...

maxwell - whew! You had me worried there.

Amy said...

I think 9casey is right. I don't think Manny has given Bush a second's thought. He is just focused on baseball and being Manny.

Donaldson's column is disgusting no matter what Manny's motives were. How can we judge someone's patriotism based on a failure to visit the most unpatriotic president I can remember? If we define patriotism as defending the values on which the US was founded, Bush falls very low and probably off the scale.

L-girl said...

Are you telling me I'm not going to be able to force you to blog about the Dallas Cowboys?! Dang! :)

What is this "Dallas Cowboys" you speak of? Some tribe of bovine-loving young men who hail from the Republic of Texas, I suppose.

L-girl said...

Jesus....I think a lot of overthinking is going into this issue......redsock said it best in the post when he said it was Manny Being Manny.....

9Casey, why Manny didn't go isn't the issue that's being thunk here. You can see that, right?

To think Manny is staging some kind of protest by not going seems farfetched.....

I agree with Redsock: declining the invite twice is likely not a coincidence.

Just b/c Manny acts like a dimwit doesn't mean he has no opinions. He may strongly dislike the Resident and figures the best thing to do is stay home.

After all, Manny grew up in NYC, the Dominican community (like almost every other community in my hometown) can't stand the Republicans.

(Hey Colin, did you catch that? Manny grew up in NYC!)

tim said...

I'm pretty sure if I went to the white house and GWB was there....yeah, not going to finish that sentence. I'll probably get sent to Guantanamo due to the Patriot Act....Let's just say if this was Wheel of Fortune, G_S _ND M_TCH_S would be your puzzle with only vowels remaining....yup, definitely getting shipped off in the middle of the night tonight.

Maxwell Horse said...

Texasgal, I'm glad we cleared up the misunderstanding. Your blog is a lot of fun, and many people (including myself) would be very disappointed if it ever changed.

"Let's just say if this was Wheel of Fortune, G_S _ND M_TCH_S would be your puzzle with only vowels remaining."

Hilarious! Also, isn't it a sad commentary that we actually have to be worried about voicing our opinions like this? I was going to post something similar in another blog (except my fantasy scenario involved the Pres bending over to pick up a dollar bill) but I stopped myself because of similar visions of Gitmo.

Mainecatwoman said...

"And some readers aren't fond of my politics."

It's our blogs. We can write whatever we want and screw who doesn't like it. That's the joy of the internet and non-ad-beholden blogging!

The two things that interest me most in life are sports and politics, so why not combine them??

L-girl said...

The two things that interest me most in life are sports and politics, so why not combine them??

Well said! Mainecatwoman for President of Red Sox Nation!

Tim, love the Wheel of Fortune play. And before someone tells us "it's a free country," do some research.

Timmy Mac said...

Now I'm just enjoying a daydream where Manny responded to questions with, "Fine. Fine. I promise I'll visit with President Obama when we win it next year."

9casey said...

L-girl said...

I agree with Redsock: declining the invite twice is likely not a coincidence.


It took this guy how many years to show up to spring training on time?


L-girl said...


9Casey, why Manny didn't go isn't the issue that's being thunk here. You can see that, right?


I am not sure what is being Thunk....It's just not the big of a deal that he didn't show...There is also a thumbs down article in my hometown paper about him not going......

What's the issue boycotting the White House......Lets get a bunch of Millionaires to Boycott the White House..They are professional athletes they don't think the way you do or most of the people on this blog...they play baseball for a living..they are adults playing a game and people expect them to have thoughts out of thier fantasy world it's not going to happen........

L-girl said...

What's the issue boycotting the White House

No. Not to me, anyway.

I was referring to the subject Redsock originally blogged about, Jim Donaldson's column in ProJo:

But here's my point (and why this post is actually more about the media): Suppose I'm right. How would Donaldson react if Manny, after touring Walter Reed, gave an impassioned statement about how he believed Bush was solely to blame for the missing arms and legs and eyes of these men and women? What if he had said, to borrow some of Donaldson's own words...

...

Would Donaldson rush to his typewriter to wax patriotic that Ramirez was exercising his right of free speech -- a right that Donaldson, judging from this column, believes is being defending in Iraq?

I doubt it. Direct and implied praise for the war is quoted by sportswriters without comment, or with admiration. A statement such as what I wrote above -- while also expressing a political opinion, albeit one from the other side of aisle -- would likely ignite a firestorm.


I thought that's what we were discussing, not why Manny didn't attend.

mugro said...

"Re Bush: "I feel good, it made me feel important - the president is thinking about me," said Ramirez with a deep laugh."

Now THAT is funny!!!

Manny not showing up at the White House. Is that really a surprise to anyone? He never shows up at Spring Training on time (at least not until this year). He takes time off in the middle of the season. He skips the All Star Game. Are these politicals statements?

Probably not. But we don't know, do we?? It WAS presumptuous of Donaldson to assume that his absence was political.

Theo wasn't there either. There is a little more evidence that his absence WAS political, because he has engaged in politically correct behavior before, in the form of being a sychophant of several liberal elites.

But, at the end of the day, does any of this really matter? Not to me. If it doesn't have anything to do with the Red Sox winning the World Series, or with bashing the MFY, then I am not concerned with it.

But, with many of you out there, EVERYTHING is political, so you want to discuss it incessantly. Go ahead.

Gone are the days when we could just sit back and enjoy a game of baseball and forget about all the bad shit going on in the world. It's too bad....

redsock said...

He never shows up at Spring Training on time (at least not until this year).

This is blantantly untrue. He has almost always been in camp by the reporting date mandated in the CBA.

he has engaged in politically correct behavior before

Also known as "expressing his opinion".

in the form of being a sychophant of several liberal elites

What drugs are you on? ... And can I have a handful?

But, at the end of the day, does any of this really matter? Not to me.

The actual games don't matter either -- at the end of the day.

All of what I post here has no real significance -- at the end of the day.

Gone are the days when we could just sit back and enjoy a game of baseball and forget about all the bad shit going on in the world. It's too bad....

Yeah, the good old days! (mega eye rolling)

L-girl said...

Theo wasn't there either. There is a little more evidence that his absence WAS political, because he has engaged in politically correct behavior before, in the form of being a sychophant of several liberal elites.

Oh my lord. Oh my fucking lord. Could it not be that Theo actually IS liberal, because that's what he believes? Oh no, he has to be a "sycophant to the elites".

But, with many of you out there, EVERYTHING is political, so you want to discuss it incessantly. Go ahead.

Wow, Mugro, thanks! So glad we have your permission.

And yes, to some of us, everything is political. When you are a political person, your worldview informs everything you do. So you actually do know something!

Gone are the days when we could just sit back and enjoy a game of baseball and forget about all the bad shit going on in the world.

Who the fuck is stopping you? Somebody forcing you to come here and post?

redsock said...

Who the fuck is stopping you? Somebody forcing you to come here and post?

But but but then we wouldn't know that there are people in the world who do not share our viewpoints.

johngoldfine said...

I like the imaginary speech you give Manny--nice to imagine him saying that.

GK said...

Manny not going should not be an issue.
I am sure he thought of the many millions that go from his paycheck to the treasury and decided that was enough of his time and money that went/is going in to finance the war.

L-girl said...

GK: nice! I think it's interesting how most people - even on this blog! where people should know better - assume Manny lives in a dream world, a man-child floating through life. I mean if you're late for spring training, you can't have any political opinions, right?

Anyway... I thought I'd post this advertisement from the liberal elites who have Theo under their awesome power.

redsock said...

... the liberal elites who have Theo under their awesome power

If that is true, then we have the liberals to thank for the World Series titles in 2004 and 2007 since it sounds like Theo is so sychophantic that he won't make a decision without their approval.

Maybe the Democrats aren't such cowardly assholes after all.

They were clearly wrong on Renteria, but they scored big time with Ortiz, Schilling and Beckett.

9casey said...

L-girl said...
GK: nice! I think it's interesting how most people - even on this blog! where people should know better - assume Manny lives in a dream world, a man-child floating through life. I mean if you're late for spring training, you can't have any political opinions, right?


Some people just don't have politcal opinons, they just don't...

I am not saying he does either way...But he has never given me any idea that he does have politcal opinions......

L and Redsock .I can't say I have read all your writings .....But most of the ones I see here I have read.....

Just a question not to be construed in anyway just a curious question......

Is there any one President of the U.S. in your lifetimes that you actually respected or thought did a good job?

If you don't want to answer that is fine as well....I know some some people don't like having the politcal side on your site, but I find it very interesting and enligtening....I can honestly say from just reading comments here It has made me have a more open mind towards some issues.......and being an Irish Catholic sometimes ,well ya know...:)

L-girl said...

Some people just don't have politcal opinons, they just don't...

Absolutely true. I just don't think we should assume that the man doesn't, is all. :)

Is there any one President of the U.S. in your lifetimes that you actually respected or thought did a good job?

It's a good question!

I respected Jimmy Carter. I voted for the first time in 1980, and I was proud to vote for him against Reagan.

As I got older, I learned more about some things Carter did that I wouldn't have supported. But I thought he was a good man who was unfairly pilloried.

But in general, the people I admire tend not to be politics, or if they are, they are outsiders and mavericks. There is a long list of Americans who I admire, but they are people who have worked for change outside the system.

Almost by definition, if a person is willing to do what it takes to become president, they ain't gonna make that list. The system is too corrupt.

(And once again, we see comments on wmtc and JoS dovetail...! Amy and I were just talking about this on wtmc!)

I know some some people don't like having the politcal side on your site, but I find it very interesting and enligtening....I can honestly say from just reading comments here It has made me have a more open mind towards some issues

I remember you saying that before. It shows in some of your own comments. I think it's very cool.

The internet is a funny place, eh?

Amy said...

(And once again, we see comments on wmtc and JoS dovetail...! Amy and I were just talking about this on wtmc!)

You know, in law we talk about how all issues are ultimately related and affect each other in some way, and the metaphor we have always used is that the law is a "seamless web." So I guess the web is a seamless web as well!

Jimmy Carter was a decent person (even if he did lust after other women in his heart), but he never inspired me as a leader or a hero. Like Laura, I cannot think of one President I would consider a hero. They all let me down one way or the other.

I was watching a film about Pete Seeger last week on PBS, and it struck me that he was one of my earliest heroes. My parents were constantly playing his music when I was growing up and telling me stories of the black list and his stance before Congress. Of course, his activism in the civil rights, peace and environmental movements inspired me as well as I grew up. So that's the kind of person I admire or consider a hero. Not our political leaders.

Now, is that off topic enough from baseball??