More Manny….Dennis and Callahan had the froth going full force. The latest is that Manny was disrespectful during the 9/11 ceremonies last night. Larry Lucchino was on for his weekly appearance and D&C couldn’t wait to tell him all about it. Lucchino had no idea, no one had told him, and it wasn’t in any of the papers today. Dennis said that Manny wasn’t on the top step of the dugout with his teammates during the ceremonies, and instead was in the dugout, chewing, spitting and laughing and joking. Then during the player introductions, in which each player was joined by a police or firefighter, Manny was a “step and a half” ahead of his, and instead of talking or being friendly (like Johnny Damon) he was stretching and acting oblivious. Lucchino said he would follow up, pursue this and take action.
(My thoughts…if this was such a huge deal…how come this was the first Lucchino heard of it? Is he clueless, or are D&C blowing things out of proportion? Second, D&C sound just like a couple of whining schoolboys running to tattle to the teacher.) More:
Callahan stated that Lucchino must be so frustrated by all this…Lucchino said he is frustrated by the guaranteed contracts, look at player’s conduct, authority to players by players association, something in best interest of game was ‘an intrusion and privacy of players.’ When you start paying people $15-20 Million a year, you lose control of them, tendency when they make multiples of coaches and managers, difficulties are inevitable in controlling. Callahan said that now these guys put name on (the dotted) line, financially secure forever, there’s nothing you can do to me, nothing management, fans, or media can do.
(Why should the media have to *do* anything? Aren’t they just there to report on what is happening? Not to influence or control any portion of it.)
Keeping on the Manny theme, Dennis asked Lucchino’s reaction to Manny’s come-backer (to the dugout)? He’d never seen anything like it before, so it was shock to him. My reaction was more muted than media. Manny’s act of apologizing was something people might not have expected. Initial reaction quite positive, something had to give a little bit. Maybe something positive, wake up call for Manny. Different going forward. Dennis said Gradys (non)action was just as unsettling, he didn’t even look at Manny. Lucchino said Grady has been addressed, should have done something on spot. Has dealt with it forthrightly, won’t happen again. talked about Earl Weaver saying “if you didn’t correct a player right there, on the spot, you’re likely to get same behavior again”… Guarantee he’ll do that next time. But Manny’s instinct should be to run to first.
Dennis stated that Manny can do hard part, hitting a baseball. Easy part, hustling, standing on top step of dugout he can’t do. Lucchino said Let’s not confuse style: casual, passiveness, not true manifestation of his competitive nature, he wants to win… not the 9/11 disrespect, but the other things. He quoted a basketball coach “Hustle is the last refuge of the mediocre player” Callahan said that there are not many reasons left to watch except Pedro, or to see if Tony Clark can get another hit, asked Lucchino what would he say as to why we should watch? Lucchino is watching for a finish to contrast with last year’s finish, see how they play every night, doesn’t quit, cares, not want to see a team mail it in. If these guys had pick up basketball game, they’d care about it, they should here… I like to see the wins, so I’m watching with great enthusiasm.
As far as prospects, Callahan asked “other than Freddy Sanchez, who do we want to see?” Lucchino mentioned Fossum, who is maturing right in front of our eyes. Benny Agbayani, look at the contribution he’s making. A healthy Cliff Floyd and watching him perform, that is great fun. He added frankly seeing Manny put up some big numbers in the batting race. he looks for intensity, during the grand slam, pointing, showing he’s in the game…Dennis counters with “but then you see Manny standing in batter’s box after homerun only six rows in seats after that?” Lucchino said Manny knew the ball was gone.
A little talk about Yawkey way, how great it is. Lucchino did say the media missed the boat on this one, and focused on the Liquor license rather than the fact that it would be a fan friendly plaza.
As is WEEI’s custom, the topic spilled over to the next show. Dale & Neumy followed the lead of D&C and picked up the torches of the lynchmob to continue the chase of Manny. Dale hates players who don’t stand for the entire National Anthem, or Hockey players who might skate around the goal during the last few lines. Dale does think that Manny doesn’t intentionally mean to be disrespectful, but that that isn’t really an excuse. Neumeier mocked all those who only care about the numbers he puts up. He went on to say this is an indictment of the organization, and this will continue for years to come if action is not taken. Neumeier reported Sean McAdam saying on the weekend baseball show about teammates confronting Manny at various times during the season, and it having no effect. A caller suggested teammates beating Manny with soap wrapped in a towel a la “Full Metal Jacket”. Dale also invoked the name of Carl Everett in comparison to Manny. That some people only cared about the numbers that he put up, and didn’t care what he did off the field, and in the clubhouse etc. Those same people only care what numbers Manny puts up.
Couple things wrong with that. Manny is 10 times the player Everett is. Manny isn’t destructive off the field, he’s not fighting with teammates or yelling at the manager and reporters.
But Manny does understand what’s going on. Check out this quote from yesterday’s Hartford Courant: “You know what it is,” Ramirez said to his teammates a few feet away. “Carl Everett left, so they want to pick on me.”
That same article has the following quote from John W. Henry: When asked for his take on the incident, Red Sox principal owner John Henry, in an e-mailed response to The Courant, said: “I believe that sometimes the desire a player has to contribute is so strong that when a poor result happens, frustration leads to actions that give the opposite impression.
“But I’ll tell you this, if we had nine Mannys on the field every day, we might be undefeated this year,” Henry said. “There aren’t many professional athletes that work harder on their skills than Manny Ramirez. I can’t think of a batter I would rather see coming up to the plate in a Red Sox uniform than No. 24.”
Finally, Peter Gammons also teed off on Manny today. In an appearance on the Tony Kornheiser show this morning, Gammons went after Manny as a human and as a player, and said that he is the poster child for everything that is wrong with the game of baseball. There might be an archive of this interview up sometime today on the ESPN Radio web site.