AS A YANKEES FAN, it pains me to say it, but the Boston Red Sox deserve credit for releasing Manny Ramirez.
No one player is bigger than the team. It’s an old sports cliché but it’s true. Manny believed that he was…until he found himself on a plane to Los Angeles last night.
Rumor has it that the Red Sox management consulted with senior players in the clubhouse and the verdict was unanimous: Manny has to go.
His latest outburst, during which he claimed Boston did not deserve him, proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
That the Red Sox are going to be a weaker team without him is beyond question. They’ll miss his clutch hitting and David Ortiz is going to have few balls over the plate to hit.
Jason Bay, Manny’s replacement from the Pittsburgh Pirates, has actually hit more home runs than him this season (22 v 20). But, let’s be honest, he’s not Manny.
You could almost hear the sighs of relief across the Bronx when news of the trade came through. No man has caused the Yankees more pain over the years during their battles with Beantown.
Joe Torre now has the problem of managing Manny
Now he is going to ply his trade in the National League under Joe Torre. The two will make strange bedfellows – Mr Passive and Mr Angry.
And to think, the Red Sox were even willing to subsidize the move to the tune of $7 million.
Dan Shaughnessy, writing in today’s Boston Globe, said: “We’re going to miss the majestic homers, the pajama pants, the goofy antics in left field, and the bathroom breaks and cellphone calls from inside the Wall.
“But we won’t miss the fabricated injuries, lame excuses, and occasional no-shows. We won’t miss watching Manny Ramirez dogging it down the first base line. His teammates and manager won’t miss going to the ballpark wondering if Manny feels like playing tonight.”
The truth of the matter is that the goofy, loveable rogue called Manny had outstayed his welcome in Boston. His comedy act didn’t make people laugh any more.
It wasn’t funny when he slapped Kevin Youkilis during a dugout spat (well, okay, it was if you’re a Yanks fan!) It certainly wasn’t funny when he attacked Boston’s 64-year-old traveling secretary Jack McCormick when he couldn’t meet his ridiculous, last-minute ticket request.
“Too bad his final days were so ugly,” wrote Shaughnessy. “In the end, Manny had few friends in his own clubhouse and much of the fan base had turned against him.”
So well done Theo Epstein and Terry Francona for biting the bullet and cleansing the clubhouse. Manny just being Manny was no longer acceptable.