Was it just Manny being Manny?

Steven Rawlins06 August 2008 - 12:58

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Slapping grouchy first basemen into shape. Throwing secretaries to the ground. Chalking up 511 career homers. He’s a villain or a hero depending on your viewpoint, but he’s not Batman.

He’s Man Ram.

The three way trade

Undeniably the hottest Major League Baseball trade inked in before this year’s July 31st trade deadline was the three way deal that sent Silver Slugging left fielder Manny Ramirez to the National League’s LA Dodgers, in exchange for Jason Bay and Josh Wilson who moved from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Boston Red Sox. The Pirates acquired infielder Andy LaRoche and pitcher Bryan Morris from the Dogers, and outfielder Brandon Moss and pitcher Craig Hansen from Boston.

What caused it?

The Ramirez trade has long since gone through and Manny has resumed normal service, hitting a two-run homer in his second game with LA. However, the debate rumbles on as to who was responsible for the fallout surrounding the trade, and the wider effect it has on the sport of baseball. Was it the Red Sox’s fault or was it just Manny being Manny? Did the Bosox really not deserve him?

Manny the menace

Man Ram’s list of antics is pretty sizeable. It used to be that his run-ins with the Red Sox were occasional, forgivable misdemeanors. We’ve all called in sick to work and yet magically felt well enough to hit the bar, but if you’re on a $200 million contract and your drinking buddy happens to be a Yankee infielder, the team you’re supposed to be too sick to play against, someone’s probably gonna notice.

In the last 12 months, Manny stepped up his “I want a trade” initiative. I can forgive him for slapping Kevin Youkilis. I think we all can. Actually I’d like to personally thank him… But his recent spats with the Red Sox back office staff, threatening not to turn up to spring training, and deciding a few minutes before a big game he didn’t feel like playing? Well that’s a pretty compulsive reason to pull the chute.

Reaping what you sow

How did all this happen? Red Sox fans are furious that Ramirez was successfully able to coerce his team into trading him. Don’t even mention the fact that Boston is still paying out on his contract. But if you look deeper, the real culprits for Manny’s worsening attitude were the Red Sox themselves.

The main promoter of the phrase “Manny being Manny” wasn’t the media, it was Manny! His loveable yet feisty image was promoted by the Red Sox and its fans, so much so that he could get away with the type of behaviour that would send most other players back down to the minors so fast you could hear their ears whistle. MP3 player sunglasses? Just Manny being Manny. Requesting a song about smoking drugs as your intro song (and the Red Sox, mystifyingly, still playing it)? Manny being Manny. Flogging BBQs on Ebay? You get the idea.

Backlash

The tirade against Ramirez that began when he demanded to be traded is unreasonable. Don’t love the guilty pleasure that you’ve got a character on board but then turn against the guy when he wants out. It’s natural for a team to defend and protect any player that happens to be one of the best hitters in the league, but if you let them constantly get away with “Manny moments”, you’ve only got yourself to blame.

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