To wrap up the latest Manny happening, it appears all the flap that was stirred up yesterday, inciting fans and listeners against Ramirez, was nothing more than a sleazy ruse by talk show hosts to stir things up. The only ones who thought Manny’s actions Wednesday night were out of line were people who were not even there. Everyone who was actually there, beat writers from both the Globe and Herald, have stated that Manny did nothing disrespectful. So will guys like John Dennis, Gerry Callahan, Bob Neumeier, Steve Burton and to a lesser degree Dale Arnold, be admonished, or have any action taken against them for this? Of course not. Their job is to stir things up, get people talking. Most of the time it’s ok, but sometimes things go too far. This is a perfect example. Ramirez is by all accounts, a shy, sensitive, humble guy, who doesn’t lash back at the media. (they love that) They have vilified this guy, put him in the Carl Everett class, and all talk is now about how the fans want him out of town. On that account, I’d say they’re mistaken. Most fans agree with Bob Ryan’s assessment yesterday of Ramirez: He’s a goofball, not a deviant. He’s a lovable goofball. He is also the most potent run producer in baseball. Now the media is trying to push the Sox into dumping this guy ala Carl Everett for Darren Oliver? Trying to discern their motivation is guesswork…are they jealous of his salary? His talent? That he is not the ideal fair haired boy? The fact that this all comes on the heels of a huge Patriots victory Monday night, and another big game Sunday against the archrival New York Jets makes it all the more curious. It’s not like they were short on topics and needed to make one up to get people interested in sports. The actions yesterday on sport radio were irresponsible. Larry Lucchino should immediately sever all ties to the Dennis and Callahan morning show.

Both Bob Hohler and Jeff Horrigan address the topic in their notebooks today. Horrigan calls the incident a result of a “piling on mentality”. Horrigan and Gordon Edes deserve credit for not giving into the pack mentality on this issue and keeping their objectivity. All the beat guys have been pretty fair on this topic, it’s been the shock jock radio and TV guys who go to extremes. Michael Silverman looks at Tim Wakefield.

Dan Shaughnessy has a good article on Tom Brady. Karen Guregian writes about Bill Belichick getting into opponents heads. The New York Times writes about Belichick’s rubik’s cube defenses. Nick Cafardo reports on Ted Johnson and Bill Belichick patching things up, Drew Bledsoe’s beneficence, and Curtis Martin wanting the Jets to be like the Patriots. Cafardo also has an article on Cam Cleeland. Leigh Montville has his weekly picks. Rich Thompson’s notebook has Belichick reminiscing Johnny Unitas, and praising Jarvis Green. He also gets Curtis Martin’s views on his center, Kevin Mawae. Paul Kenyon allots an entire article to Green. Kenyon’s notebook looks at the special teams challenge the Patriots will be facing. Elsewhere, Michael Gee writes about the Bellman equation.

Kevin Paul Dupont says Bruins fans are dreaming if they think this team can win it all. Speaking of bold predictions, Karen Guregian says the B’s will need Joe Thornton to step it up this year. Stephen Harris looks at the new goalie, Steve Shields.

Jackie MacMullan looks at the situation a year after the Pentucket football hazing scandal. Bill Griffith previews the weekend sports viewing and like Jim Baker reported yesterday, mentions a story coming up Sunday in the Metro West Daily News about the cottage industry that has developed from sportswriters appearing on numerous TV and radio shows. John Howell mentions in his media notes about the Red Sox being all-NESN in Connecticut next year, and a possible rate hike.

NESN has Red Sox/Orioles at 7:00. TBS has Braves/Marlins at 7:00. ESPN has Cardinals/Astros at 8:00.