OK, so that doesn’t exactly read as a ringing endorsement of the Comcast SportsNet special Manny being Manny – The Final Days in Boston, which is set to debut tomorrow night following the Celtics post game show.
But I’m sure you can forgive me for fearing the worst of this show, which I assumed would be simply an hour video extension of the Dennis and Callahan program, especially since Gerry Callahan is one of the commentators. With Dan Shaughnessy and Steve Buckley also lined up to appear, I was fearful to even pop the review DVD into my player last weekend.
But I did, and found it to be better than expected. Shaughnessy and Callahan were nowhere near as vitriolic about Manny as they have been elsewhere, and Shaughnessy actually spent some time gushing about Manny’s skills at the plate. Callahan called most of Manny’s antics harmless.
The show starts with a fairly quick overview of Manny’s tenure in Boston leading into the 2008 season. Many of his prodigious home runs are shown, and previous “Manny being Manny” incidents are not rehashed. As the show moves into this year, the hiring of super-agent Scott Boras is highlighted, as is the subject of Manny’s option years. Ramirez got into great shape coming into this season, initially hoping to get those options picked up and a contract extension worked out, and was even talking to the media. His pursuit of home run #500 for his career occupied much of the Manny talk in the early going of the season, and once he had reached that mark, things seemed to go downhill from there.
The dugout scuffle with Kevin Youkilis (which Callahan shows some of his WEEI venom when commenting on) and the strange confrontation with traveling secretary Jack McCormick are discussed, as well as the three-pitch at bat against Mariano Rivera at Yankee Stadium (which Shaughnessy wavers on a bit before opining that Manny was sticking it to Red Sox management) and his mysterious knee injury that couldn’t be diagnosed with an MRI.
The show could’ve been a lot harsher toward Ramirez, and I give CSN credit for not going that route totally. I think the show was a pretty good balance of Manny’s accomplishments here in Boston contrasted with his tumultuous exit from the Red Sox and the huge sense of relief felt in the clubhouse when he was finally traded.
There still seems to be a lot that we don’t know about Manny’s exit from Boston, and while the show doesn’t really shed any new light on things, it gives us a snapshot of the end one of the strangest tenures in Boston sports.