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August 4, 2008

Manny Bleeding Manny

Pointing out that the Boston sports media can be particularly obnoxious and venomous is kind of like saying that the The Love Guru sucks; everybody knows it's true, but it's fun to do anyway. And so, as Manny Ramirez continues to settle in comfortably in LA (he wants to finish his career there!), Boston sportswriters are dialing up their anti-Manny hate rhetoric in an attempt to convince themselves that it was a good idea to trade away one of the best hitters in the game, pay his contract, and ship out prospects all for a guy described by NL scouts as "bland."

(Full disclosure: If you haven't figure it out already, I'm a Yankees fan.)

Manny's sins—which had previously been endearing eccentricities—proved too much for the Red Sox players and management to bear. And a scan of Boston Sports Media Watch and other sports news sources shows the Boston media pouncing on Manny like Curt Schilling on an open microphone. (I was going to try and be even-handed, but c'mon who are we kidding?) The more moderate columnists simply called Manny a distraction of which the Red Sox were happy to be rid. Dan Shaughnessy, who makes a living off of getting people riled up, was actually fairly subdued in his Boston Globe column. A few brave souls even said the trade was costly, as Bill Burt points out that the Red Sox's need to get rid of Ramirez kept them from going after a reliever—their biggest on-field concern—in the waning hours before the trade deadline.

But most of the Boston sports media was about as clear-headed as Pedro Martinez hurling Don Zimmer to the ground. (Beating up the elderly seems to be a hobby of Red Sox players—I'm sorry, my juices are flowing, I think it's better to just embrace them.) The usually very reasonable Peter Gammons loses it when discussing Manny Ramirez on an ESPN radio show, saying he's a disgrace to the game and lumping him in the same category as Mark McGwire. Joe Fitzgerald contrasts Manny to the players of yore and in his Boston Herald article titled Shame, Manny Ramirez, Shame, he writes, "Manny didn't a give a damn and didn't care who knew it." The writer of an opinion column in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette who claims "The Red Sox demonstrated remarkable patience with their 36-year-old prima donna" must have forgotten about the time the team placed Ramirez on waivers.

There are more. Jeff Jacobs compares Red Sox GM Theo Epstein's decision to get rid of Manny Ramirez to finding a cure for cancer. Bill Reynolds bookends his article with the line, "The circus has left town," and repeats the phrase "Manny being Manny" enough times you could mistake him for Steve Levy in this never-to-be-aired-again Sportscenter commercial:

Though these are all impressive entries, the king of the Manny Bleeding Manny screed has to be Gerry Callahan. In a Boston Herald column titled, "Not Dodging It: Manny Ramirez Just a Bad, Bad Man," Callahan accuses Manny of ignoring his high school alma matter, wounded army veterans, and, if you can believe it, cancer stricken children. He is also, I believe, a secret member of Al Qaeda and once called Larry Bird overrated.

The Boston fans, feeding off of the writers' vitriol, are also mad about Manny. “He betrayed us. He went to the other team,” one clearly misinformed fan told a Boston TV channel. In a poll that appears next to Callahan's column on the Herald's website, 79 percent of over 16,000 respondents believe the trade was good for the Red Sox.

And maybe they're right. Epstein's decision has enormous Ewing Theory potential, as the Sports Guy would point out—hell, maybe that's even why they did it. I, for one, support the Red Sox's decision and couldn't be happier that they finally got rid of that cancer-clown-distraction-lout-Yankee-killing-RBI-machine-who-plays-the-Green Monster-better-than-anyone-else-and-has-a-career-1.000 OPS-while-protecting-Ortiz-in-the-lineup-and-has-won-two-World Series-with-a-team-that-had-none-in-the-82-years-prior-to-his-arrival. Good riddance.

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