My own version of the thoughts column for Monday

(Reminder: Red Sox Daily LinksPatriots Daily LinksNew York Daily Links)

  • Am I ever glad football is back. Yes, having the games on Sunday is great, but even better is that on Monday’s, Dennis and Callahan have Boomer Esiason and Tom Brady back-to-back in the eight o’clock hour. Easily the best segment of the week on that program. Ridiculously long questions excepted…
  • Tim McCarver needs to be put down. If I hear more “Brandon Arroyo” references mixed in with trying to be clever by mixing Manny’s name with tennis players, I don’t know if I’ll be able to handle the baseball playoffs on Fox. McCarver trying to be funny says “Manny Agassi….Manny Federov…” Um….it’s Federer, Tim”.
  • Staying on Fox, yesterday’s late game with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman commentating on the Cowboys and Chargers was nearly as bad. Plenty of miscues and gaffes there, as well. Not to be totally cynical here…(ok maybe) but if Joe Buck isn’t Jack Buck’s kid, does he rise to the level he’s gotten to? Lead announcer for Fox on both baseball and football? To me, he’s a voice, nothing more.</li?
  • Found myself switching, at least at the beginning, between that Cowboys/Chargers game and the mens final of the US Open on CBS, to see if Andre (not Manny) Agassi could pull off that monumental upset and complete his incredible run. By the fourth set, it was clear that it just wasn’t going to happen…fun while it lasted though.
  • Glad to see that the Globe is sticking to their policy of ignoring the Patriots. Not a single article on the team today? Are you kidding me? Is Jerome Solomon on vacation? Nothing today or yesterday from the beat writer?
  • After yesterday’s Red Sox/Yankees game, I lasted about five minutes on the WEEI programming with Mike Adams and Larry Johnson. One woman caller said that Terry Francona was the worst manager in Red Sox history. She wasn’t cut off immediately. That was enough for me. Click.
  • Speaking of Adams…what has happened to this guy? He used to be a Red Sox fan…enjoyed the team, didn’t get angry and worked up over things. As of late, he’s been on a mission…spew as much hate towards Manny Ramirez as possible. I don’t get it. Must’ve been a memo from Jason Wolfe to lose the nice/funny guy persona and get nasty.
  • It was nice of Ron Borges to inform us in the NFL notes yesterday that former Patriot Otis Smith and his family were hard hit by the hurricane and could use the help of Patriots fans. It would have been nicer had he given us an address or some way to actually go ahead and offer assistance.
  • John Dennis comes off really bad in that voicemail, (warning – offensive language) doesn’t he? Will anything happen to him? Nope.

I got this email from a reader this morning, and thought it was a well written view from the common fan about Manny Ramirez and how he is perceived by many.

Bruce,

I am an avid reader of your site. I think you do a great job and enjoy your insight and opinions during my daily lunch break.

I’ve never written to a media member, called a talk show or anything like that. But I feel compelled to share my opinion on what I perceive as a major and anti-Manny campaign among many of the media members in Boston.

First off, I am a die hard Red Sox fan, have been since my childhood in the early 70’s and the team and sport have played a large entertainment role for me and my family. I didn’t get a chance to see Jimmie Foxx but from what I have read and heard from my father over the years there was not a more potent and prodigious right handed Red Sox bat. Until the arrival of Manny Ramirez.

I am a big Manny fan. I thought he was phenomenal in Cleveland and was thrilled when he signed with the Red Sox. In fact, when terms of his deal were announced I felt that it was only a matter of time (after three years of service) before his contract became an issue for management. I’m glad he has the contract that he has because it makes it difficult to move him to another team. I’m convinced that this off-season will finally be the end of the Manny regime. He does have the power and veto rights of a 10/5 guy but I think if Manny refuses a proposed trade then Theo is going to waive him. Obviously, I don’t want these things to happen but I am a realist and he will certainly be missed by me.

In the fans and media’s eyes virtually no athlete is worth what they are paid. Fortunately for the athlete, their market and industry is highly profitable and the owners can spend however they deem appropriate. It is crazy money but the sports industry – like the movie and tv business – is big business.

Manny came to town advertised as an RBI, HR and hitting machine amid reports of periodic quirkiness. Has he delivered as advertised? In my eyes, absolutely. I think he is one of the few free agent signings who actually lived up to his billing and the hype that came with it. Here is a high level view of some of his accomplishments:

  • During his five years with the Red Sox he has been voted to the All-Star team as a starter each year. Admittedly, All-Star voting is nothing more than a popularity contest with the fans having too much clout in the process.
  • Second only to Lou Gehrig for career grand slams.
  • All time longest consecutive game hit streak in post season play (hopefully that will continue this October).
  • Always among the leaders in HR’s and RBI’s and up until this year, batting average.
  • He won one batting title with the Red Sox and lost out by % points to teammate Bill Mueller on another (if memory serves me correctly I recall reports from that year indicating that Manny sat out the final couple of games so that Mueller could win).
  • World Series MVP. I thought Keith Foulke was more deserving but Manny won nonetheless.
  • The occasional day off (he is among the team leaders in games played each year), jog around the basepaths (I think his efforts on the base paths – although sometimes maddening – are more the rule in MLB then the exception. Have you ever seen MVP Vlad Guerrero run the bases? Pete Rose he is not.), average at Fenway and below average away from Fenway defense, and his decision not to open up or deal with the media (the fact that he is not comfortable with the media often gets over-looked).

With the exception of the latter, if any other member of the Red Sox compiled a list of those accomplishments or if Manny talked, looked, acted, or interacted with the media like Johnny Damon, Curt Schilling, Trot Nixon or Tim Wakefield there would be statues of him in every state of New England by now. Unfortunately with Manny, the media looks at him as an aloof big dollar sign noose around the Red Sox neck. They have plenty of $$. Collectively, Theo’s not so stellar procurement of pitching talent during his regime – and at times costly and without value-add (Kim, Mendoza, Suppan, Sauerbach, Halama, Mantei, Miller, Fox, etc.) often gets overlooked. The media obviously have their favorites (Schilling, Damon, Millar, etc.).

The same electronic media members and writers who are greasing the skids with Red Sox management to have him driven out of town will be the same ones 10 years from now pleading that he wears a Red Sox ‘B’ on his Cooperstown bust.

ps – What do you think the reaction would have been among the media had Manny, and not Ortiz, been given the day off yesterday? Or if Manny was quoted like Johnny Damon in Sunday’s Globe as indicating that the Angels are on his free agent list? They would have beat this into the ground from 6:00 am and first print until 7:05 pm tonight.

Keep up the good work.

Steve R

You may agree or disagree with any one of the points from Steve’s email, but overall, I think this is a well reasoned essay on Manny and his standing here in Boston. Good stuff.

Advertisements