July 12, 2006

Manny Ramirez - Reality vs Perception

Bruce Allen at Boston Sports Media Watch has an excellent analysis of the media's role in the public perception of Manny Ramirez. Don't miss it.

Allen adds a brief follow-up today, wherein he notes that as he gathered specific examples of anti-Manny bias in the various local rags, "there were just way too many to include, and many were just incidental little shots here and there by various writers".

Here is a prime example of a "little shot" in today's Herald, by Steve Buckley:
Somehow, the Red Sox are winning games for 2006 while building a strong team for 2007 and beyond. Think about it. Though the marquee attractions are Curt Schilling, David Ortiz and poor, achy Manny Ramirez, a bunch of kids are muscling their way into the clubhouse and demanding big-league service time.
There is it, completely unrelated to any point being made, utterly unnecessary, 100% gratuitous. And once your eyes are open to this kind of thing, you see it everywhere -- and you rarely see it for any other Red Sox player.

I hope to write more about this tomorrow.

P.S.: It seems like the Home Run Derby attracts as much excitement as the All-Star Game itself. So when I read that David Ortiz says he's likely finished with the Derby -- "I don't think I'm going to do it anymore. I'm no good at it. I've tried three times - how many times do I have to try, 10? I'm no good." -- I find myself wondering when the hatchet job on Big Papi will start. Doesn't he understand his obligation to the fans? He's a disgrace to the game. Etc. etc. blah blah etc.


Peter N said...

It was a great Manny article. And how foolish will all the scribes feel when in a couple, three years, Manny will be in the "exalted" stats stance that we all know is on the way! That was the point of the article. And I could not agree more.

Rebecca said...

I've long felt that Manny gets too much criticism from the press because of the resentment they have over the silent treatment he gives them. Of course it's a revolving cycle, and I'm glad people are finally pointing back at the media for this.

It's unfortunate that most fans of other teams get their impression of Manny from idiots like Tim McCarver.

allan said...

I don't think he has any "obligation" to go to the ASG.

Was it 2002 or 2003 when Manny sat out some games before the break with a possible injury, but went ahead and played in the ASG. How did the media react? He got ripped, of course.

His only obligation is for the team he plays for. And resting over the break will help the Red Sox in the second half.

Some may think I may over-defend Manny, but I don't see where he's done anything wrong. (He could have broken his media silence for one day and explained about his knee. That would have helped.)

He's never been mentioned in any of the many steroid discussions, treats his friends and family well (as far as we know), and appears from the reports we read to be a friendly, funny guy if you happen to see him out on the street (or sit next to him on an airplane).

Plus he works his ass off (on his fielding too!) and is in the top tier of hitters to ever play baseball. And we get to see him almost every night.

Is as outgoing as Ortiz? No.

But not many non-Sox players are, either.

From the Vined Smithy said...

I see your point of view here, Jack. Maybe I'll concede he should have shown up and said hi for the kids. Though personally I don't much care (might have been nice to see an AB or two).

But I do think he might well have been bashed one way or the other. "Manny risks Red Sox season on meaningless All-Star appearance" could have been the "storyline".


laura k said...

Some may think I may over-defend Manny

If you do, it's only because he's over-bashed - over nothing.

Tonight's game (vs Oakland) on ESPN was the perfect example. Manny just made a great catch. Gary Thorne said "Hm, doesn't seem to be any problem with his knees..." Just had to throw that in, in case anyone forgot.

allan said...

Jack, I'm sure you know how much shit Ripken got (though not in baltimore) for overruling his manager and calling pitches from shortstop.

He also fostered a "we're all a team" attitude by staying in a different hotel than the rest of his teammates (even when the Streak was not big news).

If Manny said "my knee hurts" the day before the break, I might agree with you. But this has been an issue all season. Several times, Tito has pulled him in the late innings, much more often than he has in past years. In fact, it has caused some comments in Game Threads about removing his bat from the lineup should the other team come back.

Yet for some reason, the media chooses to ignore that, unless someone (like Tito) says it to their face.

I guess we disagree. I see Manny skipping the ASG as "nothing". Selig tries like hell to get us to see it as a serious contest ("It counts!") but it remains a meaningless exhibition.

I want Manny playing as many games for the Red Sox as possible this season. And however he and the team think he can do that best, well, he should do that.

Red-Sox-Rumors said...

Excellent - thanks for posting about this topic - as the managers and front office always say - Manny is the first to the park, the hardest worker, etc.

I certainly believe it and respect it. He gets crap for being a goof once in a while, but there is no way we'd be able to consistantly put up the numbers he does without hard work and study constantly.

It's foolish to state or even think, in the same breath as calling him a future hall-of-famer, that Manny doesn't care about the league, the team, the game, getting on base when possible, etc.

I personally enjoy the way he fields LF and gets the ball in to 2B so quickly. He makes a whole lot of doubles in to singles and we should recognize that more often when we talk about the great new Red Sox defense.

Maybe Manny won't ever get a gold glove, but that's only because the voting for such is a popularity contest. It's not for lack of trying.

I'll forever vote for Manny to be an All-Star and I'll appreciate that he may not play in the actual AS game as he puts his team first.

Timmy Mac said...

Personally, I'll reserve my righteous indignation for the guys who punch their wives, take steriods, make fun of handicapped reporters, and wrestle cameramen to the ground. Manny's non-appearance at the ASG hardly rises to the level of an "ethical" decision.

He's shy and Hispanic, and that's the kiss of death in this city.