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.

Jack Marshall said...

I'm with you half-way on this go-round regarding Manny, Redsock. The venom directed hi way by Selig and others (Buck said that "Ramirez didn't show up" during the A-S Game coverage) is excessive. But as the #1 vote getter, Ramirez had an obligation to come and take his applause, even if he was in a wheelchair. He certainly could have been available to pinch-hit. Bottom line: he doesn't care, and that's Manny's right. I don't see the point in bashing him over it. But I also don't see how anyone can deny that his conduct here, as often is the case, is far from exemplary or what one would like to get from a superstar of his magnitude. Back when I really cared about the All-Stars, as a kid, I was genuinely disappointed when my favorite players didn't play. Manny couldn't care less how many fans he disappoints.
So I don't think fans should vote for Manny next time around, even if he's hitting .400 with 30 homers at the break. Not to punish him...he doesn't care, after all...but simply to give the honor to someone who appreciates it and will do the right thing, even if he'd rather have the days off. That's fair and logical and no real knock on Manny. But, you know, after I invite someone to dinner and they make excuses a couple of times, I stop inviting them.

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.

Jack Marshall said...

Redsock, that's silly: of course he has an obligation to go to the game. Every player who plays puts his health on the line. The Game is paid for by the networks and helps pay Manny's salary, as do the fans who voted for him. The income from the game still goes to Manny's union, for pension benefits. His employers, the Red Sox, campaigned for fans to vote him into the line-up. That all spells obligation in my book.

He has a greater obligation to help his team win (a team which, by the way, pays him a BONUS for getting elected to the All-Star team...you don't think it's a bit, uh, hypocritical to take the check but skip the game?) than to MLB, but show me how showing up to acknowledge the fans would have hurt the Sox?

I-girl: becuase someone is over-criticized doesn't justify over-defending him: what sense does THAT make? So we should ignore the genuine flaws of players who catch undeserved flak for other things?
It's nice that you guys always rally to Manny's side, and he does get undeserved insults from the media, but come on: his conduct with the All-Star game fails the "what if every player acted this way?" ethics test. If every player acted like Manny, there would be no game at all.
It's selfish conduct,that's all, and that puts him in stark contrast with the Ripkens, Williams', Ernie Banks and other past stars (as well as this year's injured stars like Jose Reyes) who always made the game whether they were tired and hurting ot not. I agree: it's not as big a deal as the media has made it, but it isn't nothing, either.

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.

Jack Marshall said...

Redsock: I can't disagree with your last paragraph...at ALL.

By the way, before, Tito wasn't taking out Manny in late innings ENOUGH. Getting a faster fielder out there with a lead will win more games than not having Manny for extra innings will lose,guaranteed

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.