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