Tuesday, September 02, 2003

I'm Trying to Ignore This, I Really Am

Red Sox Talk Show Nation is apoplectic this week about Manny Ramirez' 4-game absence due to a sore throat and his recent comments about his desire to play for the Yankees. As for his illness, it strikes me as slightly odd that it would take him this long to recover, but I'm not Manny, so I can't really comment, and the Sox did score 34 runs in the games he missed, so I'm over it.

The Yankees thing is far more damaging. When I first heard the rumors, I assumed that he was misinterpreted. I saw the actual interview (with Joe Morgan on ESPN Motion) and knew that he wasn't. Without provocation or equivocation he told Morgan that he would love to play in New York someday, after his Sox contract was over.

On one hand, Manny could well be an guileless idiot, who was expressing his true feelings without understanding the ramifications. On the other, he could be a malcontent who knew exactly what he was saying. Experience tells me it's the former, but that doesn't make me feel a whole lot better, and it would piss me off were he my teammate. If he's a simpleton, he's still a simpleton who would rather play in the Bronx than in Fenway. The Sox have tried very hard to make Manny comfortable in Boston, and for the most part, his Forrest Gump hitting savant persona has protected him against the slings and arrows of the Boston press. That may change, and quickly, if he doesn't get back into the lineup and start producing.

Personally, I'm torn. I love Manny's production. To now, I've liked his approach - which is basically, "leave me alone, I'm here to work hard, drive in runs, and help the team win." Sort of an Unfrozen Caveman Hitter when it comes to the media and public - "I do not understand your microphones and big words. I'm just a poor Unfrozen Caveman Hitter." But if he's really too dense to get the relationship between the Red Sox and Yankees, then I question his commitment to the team. And if he does understand the implications of his statements, then I really don't want him wearing the Sox uniform.

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