Manny being manipulated

That’s the title of a Bill Simmons e-ticket on It is a long read and well worth it if you are Manny fan, but especially if you are no longer because of his exit behavior. I found I was shaking my head in agreement a lot as I read this today. A lot.

You might remember that I posted about missing Manny not too long ago, but this reinforced my thinking about it after it was shaken a bit by Schilling’s comments. I should have known better than to let that (now) useless blowhard shake by belief with the idea he might have brought new information to the table. I resisted posting when he inserted himself into the news for a few days a few weeks ago, less we forget he exists. After reading this new piece, I can’t help but comment about that too. Fact is, 38pitches and others in the clubhouse are part of that “Respects-The-Game” clique in the clubhouse.

As an aside, you know who those guys are. Captain divorce-my-wife-before-I-get-my-next-contract probably being the guy throwing Manny under the bus to Lou Merloni with the Jurassic Carl comment. Let’s be clear, there aren’t many perfect players in that clubhouse and if the rumors are true, the captain ain’t one if he’s tapping Heidi (Barbie) Watney (or one of those NESN chicks). I had numerous search hits here for him linked to Hazel Mae and Kathryn Tappen. (Even the Google search box type-ahead for “Varitek Watney” has plenty of options.) Now, it could have been Wakefield dropping dime to Lou, but I am using Tek to point out that they all have baggage and cause distractions, whether there’s truth to it or not, and if there is, where is Schilling and his mouth about this one? (Did I just become the Inside Track?)

Now, I don’t knock them for wanting respect for the game. I think that is important and Boston can certainly appreciate guys that take a workman’s approach to their job, but what is also important is that a guy do his job. Am I about to suggest that Manny was doing his job those last few weeks of July? No, not wholesale I am not, but he wasn’t totally dogging it either. Fact is, Simmons brings up a lot of valid points about why Manny suddenly changed between February and June/July. It has to be Boras. No two ways about it. But it wasn’t entirely him, was it.

If anything changed other than Boras getting a “Special Guest Star” tag in Manny’s ongoing sitcom, it was an ever-evolving 25-man roster: more happy-to-be-there youngsters and businesslike veterans, considerably fewer Latinos and free spirits — guys who seemed woefully ill-equipped to handle Hurricane Manny. For most of this decade, Boston’s veterans and managers looked after Manny the same way you’d look after a dog: Keep remembering to feed him, walk him, rub his belly and occasionally smack his snout and he’ll be fine … and if you forget to keep doing those things, it’s your fault when he craps on the rug. Manny’s 2008 meltdown wasn’t much different than the ones in 2003, 2005 and 2006, only nobody kept him in check this time around. It was just a different team. When Coco Crisp charged the mound in June and got summarily pounded and sucker-punched by a swarm of angry Rays, not a single Boston player had his back or seemed especially perturbed about what happened. I thought it was the most telling moment of the season. If they weren’t sticking up for Coco, they certainly weren’t standing up to Manny Ramirez.

Other than that, I appreciated the Manny Being Manny stories contained in his story. Some I have heard, some I haven’t. I especially appreciated his bashing of Boras:

Let’s pretend you were Boras last spring. First, grow fangs and imagine you sleep in a coffin. Second, divorce yourself from all parameters of human decency. (Concentrate on those dollars signs. Keep concentrating. Block everything else out.) Third, convince yourself the relationship between a player and his fans, no matter how long it has been cultivated, doesn’t matter even remotely. Fourth, keep reminding yourself, as long as you can weasel Manny out of that ’09 option with Boston, you’re looking at a four-year contract elsewhere for $80-100 million … as well as a big fat commission for yourself. You feeling it? You feeling like Boras yet? (Touch your new fangs to be sure.)

I can’t quote everything either, so you should read up for yourself. Really. Take the time to read it. It is still fanboy type stuff, but it is hard to not expect that from Simmons. At first, I thought it was going to be a more journalistic approach, and to a certain extent it was, but it also had that personal interest feel to it and it definitely resonated with me.

So, will Manny be in pinstripes next year? I thought early on that would come to pass, but I am not so sure. I think it will come down to how bad Hank wants to win again. Is that organization willing to sacrifice some of their rules to accommodate a free spirit like Manny? I have heard there is no way that will happen, but then, this is the first year since 93 they haven’t made the playoffs, right? He’d seem to be a natural fit. They need a guy that produces and can split time between the outfield and DH. Four years at a $100 mil doesn’t seem like a stretch for them and Manny has expressed a desire to play in NY in the past.

Yes, I am aware that Jason Bay provided the two runs needed to win last night’s ALDS Game 1. I still like Bay and I think he’ll be fine going forward, but I wonder if he’ll match post-prime Manny numbers. We’ll see, but for comparison:

Bay (49 games): 184 AB, 54 H, 22 BB, 39 R, 9 HR, 37 RBI, .293 AVG, .897 OPS
Manny (53 games): 187 AB, 74 H, 35 BB, 36 R, 17 HR, 53 RBI, .396 AVG, 1.232 OPS

Anyway, for a third time, check it out.