The way the Boston Media has handled this Manny Ramirez injury just steams me…

Tony Massarotti with a little shot at the Boston fans. Talking about Manny on WWZN this afternoon, he said “I guarantee that if Manny’s return had stretched out over 6 weeks, that the fans would have been all over this guy asking why it’s taking so long.” (When he got injured, Dr. Morgan said it would be 4-6 weeks before his return, that six weeks was more likely than four)

What about the media, Tony? If the fans think that he should be back by now, it’s because of what you and others in the media are saying. Your colleague Gordon Edes did one flip-flop already this week as documented here. One day he was saying Manny was taking not taking his rehab seriously, and then the next day talking about his accelerated return. Speculation by Bob Neumeier and others on the radio was that Manny was out clubbing in Miami each night instead of 1) Doing the rehab on his injury and 2) Cheering on his teammates. They had no evidence of his nightlife, it was just said “How do we know he isn’t?”

Today, in the Globe, Nick Cafardo has Manny quoted thusly:

”It wasn’t a vacation,” he stressed. ”I stayed in shape.”

He said he worked with a therapist who did ”a lot of exercise on the finger, like ice and heat and a lot of motion. It probably took an hour and a half every day.”

So that takes care of worry number one, as for number two, well, Cafardo goes on to say: “Ramirez said sitting around watching the team is not one of his favorite pastimes; that it’s agonizing not to play.” Hmmm. That sounds familiar to me. I think one Larry Joe Bird felt exactly the same way, and never sat on the bench in street clothes when he couldn’t play. It was too difficult for him. He’s lauded as such a competitor for this. Manny is ripped for it. (Nomar and Varitek weren’t around most of the time during their injuries last season, either.)

Ramirez is also among the hardest working guys on the team. Teammates marvel at his preparation, in the cage and on video for his hitting. Johnny Pesky on WWZN yesterday said “he’s such a great kid”, (who can forget the picture of Manny picking up and hugging Pesky during Spring training, huge smiles on both their faces.) Manny is unfailingly humble in his remarks, comes off as very likeable.

So why does the media rip him every chance they get? A few weeks ago Jim Donaldson had a total hack-job on Manny, accusing him of not hustling on the basepaths. That was just a short time before he injured himself attempting to score running full-out with a head-first slide. The play that “Charlie Hustle” made famous. The Red Sox insisted all along that there was no firm date when Manny was supposed to return to Boston from Miami. Yet each day he wasn’t here, it was treated as if he was refusing to return and should be fined or something. Then Edes wrote earlier this week about Manny’s hamstring injury two years ago and implied that Manny was lazy then and not rehabbing and that the same thing was happening now. Talk show hosts constantly harp on him. Sure, with a big contract come big expectations, but I don’t think misrepresentations and pot stirring is part of the package. Stirring up the fans fears, making themselves part of the story…just par for the course in the Boston Sports Media.

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