Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Case For Keeping Manny

My friend Rhonda, who is as passionate a Red Sox fan as I am, sent me an email yesterday about her feelings over what's been happening with Manny Ramirez, and I thought I would share her thoughts with all of you.

Thank you in advance for allowing me this interruption in our regularly scheduled workday to Manny-vent re: Mannygate:

-Manny is one of the greatest hitters and run-producers of all time.
-He plays the wall well and is great at throwing out guys at second. Doesn't run quickly out of the box, but not exactly a huge problem when you're talking about a guy with his long-term, consistent production.
-He's on the downside of his career, but we got him at his peak and profited considerably as a result.
-The Red Sox have won 2 World Series since Manny came on board, during which their lineup--the centerpiece of which was Manny Ramirez--was absolutely central to their accomplishing this goal that eluded us for almost 1 century.
-Manny's contract, while one of the most lucrative of all-time, was not outrageously lucrative in comparison to the contracts of one Jason Giambi, one Alex Rodriguez, one Mike Mussina. Have these guys got rings? Answer: no. Are they annoying and in some cases immoral, lying, cheating assholes? Yes, yes, and yes. (OK Moose isn't but the others...'nuff said.)
-The Boston Red Sox organization and owners have profited wildly through the Red Sox' past 5 years of wild success. Manny Ramirez's production is one of the top three reasons for said wild success, arguably.
-How fun is Manny to watch playing the game if you're a Boston fan? Fun. Wicked fun. Wicked pissah fun. Does it contribute to the Fenway/Red Sox experience? A resounding yes.
-Manny hurt his hammies in Cleveland. He asks out in the late summers every year for a couple of games to rest said hammies/legs. What has this conservative approach--that's characterized by many as lazy but that I'd characterized as pretty freaking smart/strategic for an aging superstar athlete--helped produce? Health in October when it matters most. 2 World Series rings. 1 AL Division title. And a seismic shift in the history of one of the most historic sports franchises of all time. But some would prefer to have someone who plays with the "dedication" of a Derek Jeter, a Johnny Damon, or an Alex Rodriguez, Gammo (or some other reporter) say(s)? The Yankees are right up the road for anyone who wants to jump ship and root for those boring automotons as opposed to our Dominican clown. Give me Manny Ramirez over those dorks any day.
-Manny is cute and has great hair. He is also cut. Just sayin'.
-Manny is nice to fans. It's well-documented.
-Manny is popular with his peers/players, generally speaking. His work ethic is well-documented. Players don't really complain about him any more than they'd complain about, oh, one Curt Schilling, for example?
-The Boston media are a-holes.
-The Boston media are a-holes.
-The Boston media are a-holes.

I think Manny has been a bargain to have on the Red Sox for all that we've gotten in return. Manny hasn't carried the Red Sox single-handedly, but to diminish or understate his contributions and role shaping the new Red Sox as we know them would be a ridiculous and unfair mistake. If you are in the top .0001% of the world that can do your job and do it unlike any other, you deserve to be paid at the very tippy top of your salary range. Manny deserves that. He's received that. He's also produced though. Doesn't mean we have to like every aspect of him personally, but to say that he has to go because of his "attitude" is really not looking at the full picture, I don't think at least. As Bob Sugar said in Jerry Maguire, it ain't show friends, it's show business. Who's shown us more business and macro results via his work at the plate, in our lifetimes,--over time and all things considered--than Manny Ramirez? I'd argue not a one. For that, I have no problem with Manny asking out of a game or two if his knees hurt. I'd rather have him this October than not, and history has shown us this'll happen.

Unless we can get maximum return in a trade, in which case I'd be all for, because like I said, we've seen the best of Manny. What I don't like is to see him ripped in the media at this point in the season. Seriously: what good will that do anyone at all? None.

Thanks for nothing, Gammons, CHB, Edes, Wilbur and company.

I couldn't agree more with you, Rhonda. I still feel Manny will be in a Red Sox uniform at this time tomorrow.

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