Charlie Pierce on Manny, Red Sox, Media

I’m pretty sure Charlie Pierce has a big fat BINGO with his Slate article on the Manny Ramiriez trade:

Who’s crazier, Manny Ramirez or the Bostonians who grew to despise him?

After taking on Peter Gammons’ contention that Manny has done more damage to the game than Mark McGwire, Pierce, without excusing Manny’s behaviour and actions calls the Boston media, the Red Sox organization and players to account:

For all the murmurings from the fainting couch by the local baseball romantics about how Manny Ramirez failed to respect The Game and did his teammates dirt, these same people seem more than willing to accept the proposition that the rest of your defending World Champions are made of candy glass. Is the poisonous presence of Manny Ramirez the reason catcher Jason Varitek is petrifying almost by the hour, or why Josh Beckett hasn’t thrown a changeup in six weeks, or why most of The Kids have been playing like people who got lost on the way to the AAA park? (Jacoby Ellsbury, the speedy young center fielder who was such a sensation in last year’s World Series, is hitting an abysmal .186 since the All-Star break and has stolen one base since June 17.) And has Epstein himself been so distracted by Ramirez’s performance that he’s failed to notice that his middle relief corps is a landfill?

And later:

In the final game, a grisly 9-2 loss, Beckett was an empty suit. He had nothing on the mound and compounded that by failing to back up home plate at a critical moment. Boston committed four errors, none of them by Manny Ramirez, and generally looked as dead-assed as the Romney campaign. Apparently, this was The Last Straw after which the veterans came to Epstein and delivered themselves of a burden that had grown intolerable. For this, it should be noted, they have been roundly cheered by a local media that generally hate the notion—but not the cliché, god knows—of “the inmates running the asylum” and which spent the past two weeks concocting a Manny-centric alibi for the most underachieving good team in baseball. The inmates are indeed running the asylum here, and they’ve run out one of the most entertaining inmates of all, and now they have no excuses left. I still wouldn’t be Jason Bay for all the money Manny Ramirez ever made.

 

  • howzie

    Charlie nailed it, simple as that. I will miss Manny, though I think the situation had become untenable. However, to blame this year’s abomination on him and him alone is ignorant. Varitek has grown old, Jacoby has been exposed, and Theo has dropped the ball.

    This team will not make the post-season this year.

  • Angry Old Bastard

    I also think the situation could not be reconciled and it was time for Manny to go. He obviously didn’t want to play here anymore. Charlie Pierce’s column was right on, though. Once again the Boston Sports Media went WAY OVERBOARD (what a shocker!) trying to paint Manny as the Antichrist…..I love the shot Pierce gave Callahan. >>>>>: (The gist of a column in today’s Boston Herald: Manny hates kids with cancer.) …….

  • nsw

    What is with the overstatements that wipe out an argument’s credibility at the very end?

    He talks about craziness, but then he finishes with “I wouldn’t be Jason Bay for all the money Manny ever made.”

    I think Charlie would be Jason Bay for $50 bucks and free laundry twice a week – the man is a pro baseball player, and I think it will work out fine for him.

    So, yeah, Gammons was way over the top, Callahan is crazy, Manny was a punk at times and probably a lame teammate. But there’s plenty of hyperbole to go around.

  • Seuss, M.D.

    THIS is why Charlie Pierce is on NPR and the likes of Callahan are on WEEI with the mouth-breathing buffoons.

    Score one for the smart kids who understand that volume does not equal logic.

    Score one for readers who know both winning AND losing are team efforts.

    And score another one for thinking fans who don’t buy the ham-handed sermons, crocodile piety, team-planted spin and holier-than-thou nonsense of angry white middle-aged male columnists who have no business climbing the soapbox to throw stones.

    What’s worse — a ballplayer who lives in his own world and occasionally dogs it and pouts, or a sportswriter who waits until the ballplayer is traded out of town to stab him in the back? I say it’s the latter.

    The ballplayer may be sheltered, petulant, stubborn, egotistical, etc., but whether he admits it or not, he faces the judgement of 35,000 paying fans every day. They know perfectly well who’s trying and who’s coasting — and they need not be patronized.

    The cheapshot-throwing sportswriter, however, is too timid to face the player and waits until he leaves town before committing character assasination. He is the very worst sort of coward — the kind who smugly pretends he was brave after the fact.

    It’s pathetic and undignified. And Charlie nailed it.

  • Rafe

    I don’t know — it seems to me that the hardest thing is to figure out what the facts of all this. I suspect that almost everyone, including Charlie Pierce, are letting their emotions get in the way. For example, he states that after the 9-2 loss to the Angels: “Apparently, this was The Last Straw after which the veterans came to Epstein and delivered themselves of a burden that had grown intolerable.”
    I strongly suspect that none of the players blame that loss, or any of their lackluster play on Manny. And from what Theo said in Friday’s press conference, he went to the players, the players did not come to him. This is not to say that Pierce is necessarily wrong, but what does he really know about this? I certainly don’t know. And none of this “commentary” is illuminating.

  • Angry Old Bastard

    …….first, let me “touch that wall” I agree Manny brought all this crap upon himself….but the Boston Media does need a new whipping boy, who’s it gonna be?…..I say Big Papi is the frontrunner….a few more 0 for 5 “SWING AND a pop-up” nights like last night and I can hear it now…..”PAPI IS SULKING BECAUSE MANNY IS GONE!”……just a matter of time.

  • Icky

    I can’t see Papi as the new whipping boy.

    I think it will be Papelbon, because he is crazy enough to fill Manny’s shoes.

    Or… it could be Paul Pierce. I don’t know if you guys heard or not, but he doesn’t smile enough.

    • Angry Old Bastard

      ….well, as far as the Dennis and Callahan show goes, Papelbon COULD NEVER be their whipping boy….I’ll just leave it at that

  • Hieronymous

    Calls to mind Joe Morgan’s parting shot: “This team isn’t as good as everybody thinks.”

  • stevefiji

    First paragraph… outstanding
    Second paragraph… outstandingly pathetic
    Charlie being Charlie

  • Joe

    If you’re pro-Manny this would probably be your perfect column. If you’re anti-Manny it’d probably be Callahan’s (which even if you don’t agree with, I think you’d have to concede was a stronger written piece than this). The problem I have with this piece is how it glosses over the things Manny’s done this season. It’s focused just on the reactions and surrounding factors, but never really addresses the real problems that Manny’s transgressions caused.

  • walty

    Gammons is an embarrassment. No objectivity, always takes care of people that keep him on speed-dial (Theo) and rip people who don’t give him the time of day, like Manny. He has resented Manny for a long time.

    Gammons may be the most connected media person to every front office, but he really should not be put on a pedestal the way he is. He gets scoops due to his front office contacts because he plays ball and gets the spin out for them.

    • Tony

      Agreed.

      I’ve always believed Gammons to be incredibly overrated and a sellout willing to go to the wall to defend guys who give him inside access.

      For me, he jumped the shark when he went on WEEI during the height of the steroid scandal three or four years ago and implied that steroids don’t help players hit home runs. Given that he’s one of the few writers ever to have a good relationship with Barry Bonds, that statement from Gammons was not the least bit surprising to me. He also was chummy with Mark McGwire during Mac’s playing days.

      • mandb97

        I couldn’t agree more on Gammons. I remember a couple of months ago he was on Doug Gottlieb’s show on ESPN Radio. Gottlieb had the “nerve” to assume Sammy Sosa had taken steroids. Well Gammons had to take him to task and tell him how irresponsible it was to make such an assumption. Thank God Gottlieb had the guts to inform him as a hall of famer he should explain why he should not assume he did not take steroids. He then asked Gammons how did Sosa go from 175 lbs to 240 lbs almost overnight? “Hall of Famer” Peter Gammons did not have a response.

  • Dan

    I think I’ll do the classy thing and assassinate Gerry Callahan’s character after he quits/retires/gets fired.

  • fred derf

    Charlie Pierce always unreadable (except maybe to himself) and never lets the facts get in the way to his version of the story. All the Boston media said (and Theo said it at his press conference) that Theo went to the players about Manny. Charlie knows the players went upstairs to rat out Manny. It fits his story better. Then again Charlie saw toll-coin baskets on the MassPike 3 years after they were eliminated.
    The Fan Boys, sycophants, stat geeks and cellar dwellars worshipped Manny but Callahan has this one right (and his show is on a free market station not an elitist tax subsidized station). When you get lucky in life and are blessed you should feel obligated to give back. Maybe this is visiting Walter Reed, maybe it is going to an all star game when you say you are hurt just to wave your little cap or maybe it is visiting some kids with cancer (“Manny hates kids with cancer” – nice tasteless joke Charlie). When you are successful in life and you don’t give back it just shows you care about no one but yourself. Not even the Fan Boys.

    • Tony

      You nailed it Fred.

      Pierce has never let the facts get in the way of his writing. In fact, he still believes that the Tuck Rule play was a bad call….never mind that it was enforced correctly then, had been enforced the same way before, and continues to be enforced the same way today (and never mind that Woodson’s violent head slap against Brady went uncalled on the very same play–a fact that EVERYONE totally ignores about that play, which drives me insane to this day whenever I hear some imbecile refer to that play as a bad call by the refs!).

      Disagree with the rule all you want, Charlie, but accept the FACT, almost 7 years later, that it was NOT a bad call!!

      But I digress.

      You’re right about Callahan…at least Callahan has his radio job because the free market determines it. No matter how anyone feels about him personally, and his views, at least the free market has determined his status.

      Being on NPR, which is nothing more than taxpayer-subsidized liberal propaganda, elitism and arrogance doesn’t exactly qualify a writer as being superior to another. It simply means that said NPR contributor’s viewpoints are favored by the elitists snobs who run the network.

      • HighWireNickEsasky

        Not sure why people keep bringing up NPR. Is it b/c of Pierce’s famously droll performances on Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me? Or his cerebral commentary on More Than a Game, which specializes in features of female Iditarod mushers?
        For those who avoid NPR due to its socialist “business structure” you can always pick up the Globe Sunday Magazine, which is a beacon of high-end commercialism. It’s a nice, capitalist way to enjoy his tortured logic and preening self-aggrandizement.

  • http://www.jonvssports.blogspot.com Jon

    There’s nothing on WEEI even remotely as entertaining as the weekend line up on NPR. All the liberal bashing in the world won’t change the fact that the Giant Forehead and Golfboy are complete caricatures of themselves, the Big Show and the putrid Whiner line are completely unlistenable and Yankee Talk every weekend is the worst 4 hours of radio on an Entercom station. Sorry. EEI blows.

    Dennis and Callahan continue to try to eliminate every non-white player on the Red Sox lineup – starting with Pedro and working their way to – gulp! – Papi. Maybe they should spend less time worrying about Metco Gorillas and more time on their golf game. Oops!

  • Duke

    Callahan was right on with his article on Manny. Any “homer” can see that!