Like shooting fish in a barrel…
To borrow an antiquated phrase, that’s what ripping Manny Ramirez was like during most of this decade for the Boston sports media. Whenever things might be a little slow during the baseball season (or in Mike Adams’ case, any time of year, and even well after Manny left town) they could always call Manny lazy, or clueless or a clubhouse cancer, and immediately they had a polarizing topic that could be turned into days of heated, insulting discussion.
What helped embolden the media here was the fact that there was no danger that Manny would ever pull a Curt Schilling and call into their show and call them on their nonsense.
Manny was accused of many Crimes Against Baseball during his time here, including:
- Not always running full speed to first base on a groundout.
- Missing games because of questionable or non-existant injuries.
- Not wishing to play in the All Star Game.
- Potentially arriving late for Spring Training (Remember the car show?)
- Boneheaded plays on the base paths.
- Didn’t speak to the media on a regular basis.
During his last season in Boston, things escalated after an incident with Kevin Youkilis in the dugout during a game, and for “assaulting” the team’s elderly and feeble Traveling Secretary Jack McCormick.
Back in July 2006, I published a little 6-page ebook dealing with the subject of Manny and how he is treated by the media in Boston.
Some things have certainly changed since then, but many of the arguments and statements I still stand by. I also believe the reasons I gave in that piece for why the media chose to rip Manny so frequently.
Manny has certainly tarnished his own image following his 50-game suspension last season for testing positive for a banned substance. I can say that I am tremendously thankful that Manny didn’t get caught here, because the world might’ve ended right then and there.
But during his time in Boston, there were no allegations of drug use, and Manny put up historic, Hall of Fame numbers in helping the Red Sox to two World Series championships. Yet, he was villified more than any other player in newspaper columns by the likes of John Tomase and Dan Shaughnessy, and by sports radio hosts such as Gerry Callahan, John Dennis, Glenn Ordway and Mike Adams. For them, it was too easy, just start ripping the guy, and the calls would come. It was an instant, ready-made topic that could be brought up any time there might be a lull in the sports world.
Manny Ramirez may not have spoken to the media, but he sure made their lives a whole lot easier simply by just being Manny being Manny. That’s why the Manny Ramirez era is the eighth biggest episode in the Boston sports media during the last decade.