Manny Being Manny

Another Manny mess, a Red Sox win, good news on Matt Clement, and reporting day for Patriots training camp make up most of the stories today.

Surrounded by turmoil and chaos is when these Red Sox seem to do some of their best work, and it was shown once again yesterday as they defeated the Devil Rays 4-1 in an afternoon game in Tampa. Chris Snow has the game story for the Globe, noting the quirky lineup and even some small ball used by the Red Sox to get the win. Michael Silverman looks at Tim Wakefield again coming through for the Red Sox and pitching into the eighth inning to give the bullpen a bit of a rest after the extra inning affairs of the last couple nights. Steven Krasner notes the heads up play of Edgar Renteria allowed the Red Sox one of their runs in the sixth. David Heuschkel focuses on the job turned in by Wakefield in his game story. David Borges says that Wakefield was the perfect guy to pitch yesterday and in the process notched his 123rd victory with the Red Sox, moving him into a third place tie all time for the franchise. Only Cy Young and Roger Clemens have more wins as members of the Red Sox.

The game of course was secondary, and you will likely not hear much talk of what actually happened on the field today on the airwaves. You won’t hear about the heady play of Edgar Renteria, nor the gutty performance of Tim Wakefield. You might hear some about Curt Schilling escaping in the ninth, but I kind of doubt it. You’re going to have Manny talk…all day, probably tomorrow too, as there is an off day today. The articles in the paper today aren’t as nasty as I thought they might be, Gordon Edes writes that it’s time to stop giving Manny a free pass. His strongest word on the matter is calling it “pathetic” that Manny needed a day off yesterday after his teammate Matt Clement left the field on a stretcher the night before. Tony Massarotti provides some pretty good analysis of what Manny really is…and what he isn’t:

All of this reflects most poorly on Ramirez, who is not a bad guy as much he is an astonishingly irresponsible one. Like Matt Damon in "Good Will Hunting," Ramirez does not want the burden of his talent because, you know, someone might actually start to expect something from him. So he breezes along through life, worrying only about what matters to him (hitting, most of the time) and showing little regard for the wants and needs of others.

I think that might be the best portrait of Manny that I’ve seen recently. David Heuschkel has a good piece on the Ramirez topic today as well, and he notes that the reaction in the Red Sox clubhouse to Manny’s actions yesterday “wasn’t as negative as it probably will be on the talk shows today.” Michael Silverman reports on Terry Francona’s explanation for Manny’s absence from the lineup. An emailer asked if recent events vindicate John Tomase’s article from earlier this season about Manny. My response? Since Tomase himself recently said on WEEI that his article was “needlessly over the top” in how he went after Ramirez, I say no, he isn’t vindicated by recent events.

Interestingly, the Globe’s answer to the Inside Track, the Living/Arts Names column was able to get a hold of Mrs Ramirez, who confirmed that she is pregnant, and said the couple is happy in Boston.

As for the Sports Illustrated item insinuating that the proud papa is unhappy in Boston and wants out, Juliana had this to say: "Manny hasn't told me anything about that. As a family, we love Boston and love living here."

Larry Lucchino on Dennis and Callahan this morning however stated that Manny did ask for a trade and that the team is exploring their options.

The good news from yesterday was that Matt Clement was released from the hospital, just a day after being struck on the head by a line drive. Edes and Snow have the story of the Red Sox All Star pitcher in the Globe, Tony Massarotti reports on Clement being discharged to the team’s care yesterday and flying back with the club to Boston last night. Krasner reports that while Clement is seemingly ok, Trot Nixon was placed on the DL with his oblique strain. Borges also has a piece on the two injuries and the prognosis for each. Michael Levenson reports in the Globe on reaction to Manny Decarmen’s debut with the Red Sox back in his home neighborhood of Hyde Park.

Snow’s notebook examines Nixon’s injury a little more. Silverman’s notebook has more on the Red Sox right fielder. Krasner’s notebook looks at Manny sitting out yesterday. Hesuchkel’s notebook looks at Clement being released from the hospital, but also reports that Mike Timlin has a bit of a sore elbow. Borges’ notebook has more on Manny not being in the lineup.

Today is reporting day for Patriots veterans at training camp and Tom E Curran knows we’re tired of the usual “Training camp questions” columns, so he starts out with some answers, and then goes into the questions. Ian M Clark says that yeah, there may be some questions, but c’mon, these are the Pats we’re talking about here. Michael Felger analyzes the special teams this morning and says there are some issues and questions there. Michael Parente also looks at the special teams, headlined by Adam Vinatieri. Nick Cafardo reports that while Richard Seymour’s contract is still up in the air, apparently the Patriots have done something to make Rodney Harrison happy. Much praise has been heaped (deservedly so) on Mike Reiss’ blog, Reiss’ Pieces, however it looks like he’s about to get a little competition, as the Projo has launched a Patriots blog with Tom E Curran, simply called the Projo PatsBlog.

Mick Colageo ponders whether the Bruins could be without both Joe Thornton and Sergei Samsonov come next summer. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and Stephen Harris take a quick look at the schedule, which was released and has the Bruins opening up on October 5th against the Canadiens.

Shira Springer talks to the newest Celtic, Brian Scalabrine.

The Yankees lost to the Twins last night, pushing the Red Sox lead in the AL East to two games. Larry Brown is expected to be named coach of the Knicks today. Get all the stories at the New York Sports News page.

The Red Sox are off tonight, NESN has CFL football with Montreal/Toronto starting at 7:30.

Just Another Night in Tampa

Another wild and crazy night in Tampa, Matt Clement is in the hospital, Trot is injured, Manny wants out…again, another Manny comes on the scene, and there was even a baseball game.

It just doesn’t seem like the Red Sox and Devil Rays can ever just play a normal game. Weird stuff always happens when these clubs hook up. Last night…I’d be here writing through the morning if I tried to chronicle everything that happened, so I’ll leave it to the experts. Chris Snow looks at the Red Sox sticking together after losing Matt Clement to the hospital when a line drive struck him off the head. Michael Silverman writes that this one was all-century-caliber in the drama department. Steven Krasner looks at the Red Sox overcoming the loss of Clement last night, but pondering what his loss may mean for the roster if he is out for any length of time. David Heuschkel looks at the heroics of Johnny Damon in the late innings, with both his glove and his bat, to help the Red Sox pull out the win. David Borges also reports on the Red Sox triumphing over near-tragedy last night in Tampa. He says in his game story that Lenny DiNardo, who has been a starter for Pawtucket will be called up in time for today’s game, presumably to replace Clement on the roster.

Gordon Edes reports on Clement, his condition and those who spoke to him last night. He gets the opinions of a neurosurgeon and recounts similar episodes in Red Sox history. Tony Massarotti reports that the initial prognosis and reports on Clement are positive. Heuschkel also has a report on Clement, and the scary circumstances of his exit from the game. He looks over the replays and talks to some players and umpires on the field who saw…and heard…what happened. Edes also has a second article on the situation, getting reaction from Clement’s teammates and the home plate umpire about the incident. He also looks at how his teammates rallied in the late innings and what Dale Sveum was thinking when he sent John Olerud in from third.

The other news from yesterday was a Tom Verducci report on SI.com that Manny Ramirez had asked to be traded. Massarotti writes a disgusted article, not just at Ramirez but at all the Red Sox, who he likens to a “collection of irresponsible teenage nitwits“. He says that there is no escape for Manny and that despite their accomplishments, the Red Sox cannot get make “us” take them seriously. Is he referring to the media? To the fans? The other papers have their short reports on the trade request, Krasner says that if Manny is unhappy, he is typically unaffected by it at the plate. Heuschkel says there wasn’t much reaction from the Red Sox clubhouse, but no denials, either. Silverman notes that even David Ortiz was unsure of any request or unhappiness from Ramirez. Borges also has a report on the situation. The story also makes the Inside Track, where they wonder if it was they who made Manny unhappy by asking if his wife is pregnant.

When the report became known, it of course dominated the airwaves in Boston. During the Big Show, when a caller stated that Ramirez is worth the money because baseball is about entertainment, and Manny is always entertaining, after he hung up, Butch Stearns said the following:

Stearns: Oftentimes I end up in conversations, barroom type conversations, about Manny about other stuff, that we end up talking about in our business and we

Paul Attner on the Patriots

Paul Attner, football writer for The Sporting News was on with Jay Harlow and Nick Cafardo on WWZN this afternoon. Here’s a transcript of an interesting segment of their conversation:

Jay Harlow: What's the perception around the league Paul of the Patriots losing both coordinators?

Paul Attner: You know, I think that the feeling is that they can easily overcome losing Romeo, not that he's not really good coach, but obviously that is Bill's specialty. But I really really continue to be amazed by the respect that Charlie has among front office people around the league. People I really respect and who have been in the business for a long long time think a lot of his ability. I think there really are questions among a lot of them whether anyone could've made up for his absence, but that fact that Belichick thinks that he can do it...is going to be interesting to watch. You know again, these guys really think that Charlie was an extraordinarily talented offensive mind and you just don't replace that. I happen to think, for what it's worth, that right now Belichick can do just about anything he wants and it's hard to bet against him. We talk about that a lot Nick...

Nick Cafardo: Sure

Attner: The guy, whatever he touches, just works, he obviously thinks he can do it. He's worked with the quarterbacks, all this other stuff, so we'll see. I mean Charlie, he really is viewed internally as a really really good coach in the league and you don't just lose guys like that and just automatically make up for it in their absence. I don't know.

Cafardo: Yeah, I've gotten the same kind of feedback on that, Paul, from other GM's and vice-personnel people around the league, and it's true, especially the in-game aspect of it, you know, he's just a terrific in-game coach and he just knows what to call at the right time, you know, and maybe Belichick can do that and maybe he can't I don't know, maybe someone else on that staff, you know, can do that at some point, but there was just something great about Charlie's timing, especially with some of the trick plays he ran, you know, they always seem to come at the right time.

Attner: What's interesting now is, first of all is Belichick going to wear headphones all the time? I'm used to seeing him kind of isolated there like the lonely soldier, you know and will they actually have like a game plan for him...?

Cafardo: Yeah, that's going to be interesting to see...

Attner: Yeah, he never had any of that stuff, he would just sit there with his hands in his pockets, and kind of, you know, the lonely guy...

Cafardo: Yeah...

Attner: I guess he did have the headphones before, but I guess it just never seemed...he was always isolating himself from everybody, so I guess he could view and think, but he can't do that now...if he's going to run this offense, he's got to be directly involved in every aspect of that game.

Cafardo: See I get the feeling Paul that in his mind, or he may have already done this, I think he's already kind of assigned someone on that staff to be the guy, you know maybe calling the plays, and maybe he's not going to tell us who that is.

Attner: Yeah.

Cafardo: You know, maybe he's going to take the heat, for that guy, whoever it is that's actually doing it. And I just get the feeling that's what he's doing. He wants to take the heat because you know, he couldn't find an offensive coordinator after Charlie left...you know, to suit that offense or whatever.

Attner: You know it'll be interesting, might be a great thing, one of the great mysteries, I guess of the season and for guys like us to find out, right?

Cafardo: Yeah, that's right.

Attner: Who really, really is doing this? You know that's interesting, I hadn't really thought about it, if that does become the case, I think that's really doing an injustice to the guy that's calling the plays, I mean, that guy ought to get credit for it, you know?

Cafardo: Yeah

Attner: The other aspect we haven't discussed is that Charlie did have, it seemed to me, from the outside and Nick you would know this better than I, but it seemed that he did have a pretty good relationship with Brady, they always seemed to get along very well and had a way of working with each other and you know, I don't see Belichick having nearly the same kind of personality as Charlie,

Cafardo: No.

Attner: It'll be interesting to see that dynamic, you know, I've talked to a lot of quarterbacks over the years, and a lot of them have really relished special relationships with either head coaches or coordinators or whatever and I think it's helped the development and Tom, at least in my presence he's talked a lot about how much Charlie's helped him, so it'll be interesting to see it that effects what Brady can do.