So loyalists of Red Sox Nation. You are asked to choose, between the incessantly whining scribes (and bloggers) and Manny Ramirez. Here's a sample of the Steve Buckley 'stat line' from the Herald today:
"Theo Epstein and Terry Francona are well-practiced in the Manny Ramirez Excuse Industry. No matter what the issue — a questionable hamstring injury, a sick relative, and, now, a desire to stick to some kind of at-home training regimen rather than show up at spring training"
Meanwhile, at points unknown, Manny swings the weighted bats, takes some cuts in a phantom cage, and maybe still runs Rocky-like, dragging some used tires behind him. Well, at least he takes some cuts.
So, choose your poison, the Knights of the Keyboard, with gerunds, i before e, and the subjunctive case or 435 homers, a career 1.008 OPS, and an annual 40 homers and 120 RBI. Gentlemen and ladies, I rest my case.
Alright, so I'm a Manny apologist. Whether a player makes the minimum or 20 million, we expect him to run out every ground ball, sign every kid's autograph, and CARE. Well realistically, I don't think every player, or every star runs hard 100 percent of the time. AND I repeat, do you want Manny at .400/.600/1.000 or Darin Erstad at .325/.410/.735, the latter running out every hit as though it's a sprint for the endzone against Oklahoma?
What do the geek-kneed nebbishes of the media give you (bloggers like myself included)? A couple of yuks, rarely a new vocabulary word, and raw meat to challenge your digestive system. You love sports. We listen to Sports Radio (a.k.a. Nitwit Radio), watch ESPNews, and hang on every word from Boston Dirt Dogs and 'The Buzz'. It's our nature and our nurturing that brought us here. But let's not confuse it with academic achievement or rocket science.
As Peter Gammons reminded us a few years ago, "the players ARE the product." If your finest filet minion came with a corner that was burnt, do you send it back, or cut off the edge and devour it anyway?
We know what Manny Ramirez gives us as a player, offense and defense, pros and cons. He came exactly as advertised, and has performed, as advertised. Is he your ideal employee? No, but nobody's perfect. Is he going to be your starting left fielder on opening day? Give us Bat-Rabbles!