My Letter To Dan Shaughnessy about Manny Ramirez

I don’t even know if I spelled his name right, but I sent him an email about his recent Manny-bashing. Everyone is bashing Ramirez, and he has done nothing that pretty much every player has been doing since free agency. I know its bad timing for all of this, and its not like Theo Epstein wanted him. But here is the email.

This is all of his recent articles. The one I am writing about are the ones before the trade about Manny, and the Manny-mania one.

Note: Digression. Sometimes I think of the Manny-Epstein relationship like a huge party at the nerd’s house, and the nerd constantly tries to get rid of the sexy-but-crazy jock who just blows coke and eats the roommates’ food out of the fridge. Just a random thought.

The Email To Shaughnessy:

Let me just start out by saying that over the past week, I feel as though I have been completely let down by the sports journalism in our town. For a story, although murky in terms of the opaqueness of the Red Sox front office, to be so important and so serious for Boston sports, the main journalists of the area had gone out of their way to portray Manny Ramirez as a bad guy without giving credit to the importance of all the story’s facts.

For one thing, it seems you have gone out of your way to highlight that Ramirez missed two games. What is more egregious is that you failed to list the number of games that Manny Ramirez had missed ( in your article, you just state “games”, giving an impression that Manny missed a whole bunch more than he actually did ). You had wrote an article before the trade bashing Ramirez and all of his antics.

You had used a quote from our State Secretary, as though this guy is a true representation of all Red Sox fans. You had stated that Manny Ramirez “flattened”, not pushed or shoved, but “flattened” the traveling secretary ( and you my friend have written the 15th article about Jack McCormick without mentioning he was a former State Trooper ). You berated him for criticizing management for not being honest with his contract. You had called him missing the 1st game of the Yankees series “despicable”, as though this was the most egregious offense any player can do to the Red Sox.

Throughout most of your stories, it was clear that you left out the obvious connections for the events leading up to his trade: The team’s option, and Scott Boras’s influence. You had failed to separate the incident between Jack McCormick and his incidences with missing games. Although I can see this being a headache on the front office, I would have no trouble separating these issues with the journalistic knowledge that he could be missing games to prove a point to management.

Scott Boras is his agent, and you wrote in the story that clearly the agents makes no money if the option is taken up. Also, on Peter Gammons’ blog, he had talked about how Ramirez was telling his teammates he could receive 4 years/ $100 million this off-season. Are you going to tell me that these antics, along with Boras’s plea that Manny will play better if they let go of the options, are some important pieces to the whole Manny story.

Ok, so we can admit that Manny is money-hungry. But does this make him more of a bad person than players who look for their best interest in the off-season? He did it during a pennant race because Boras and Manny felt that if the options can be dropped at any time, why not before the deadline ( where the Red Sox can say they won’t re-sign him, or he will go to a team that will say the same thing ). At the same time, Ramirez is looking to make $25 million a year ( which I highly doubt he will receive ). You think that a player, who screwed up his financial future with another agent, is going to pass up more money over his teammates?

Bad timing, I agree. But there are no saints when it comes to the business of baseball, and Manny Ramirez shouldn’t be the poster boy of doing what essentially every person on the field and in the front office is doing.

My question is, do you really think Manny would half-ass the rest of the season, and at the same time, tight-rope his statistics and his attitude to reap such a big contract? Wouldn’t you think that the best time to cause a stir would be in July and not in September, when the team is ACTUALLY in the race, and not 60 games away? Do you believe that his actions are somehow more heinous than other players who leave teams for bigger contracts?

It is conceivable that this move can allow Ramirez to make $20-60 million more guaranteed money. Do you think he is going to let that money up over a team that has tried to get rid of him for four years? Do you think he has to respect a front office that has put their best player on waivers? What makes it really scary, is that I don’t believe the Red Sox were going to pick up his contract, seeing that they have tried to get rid of the same yearly amount when he was younger. They knew what Boras wanted, and they held mum because they didn’t want him anymore.

The Red Sox had leverage, and had the right, to not speak about his contract until the off-season. But if there is even a hint that they pick up the option, it screws Manny’s chances of a big contract and Boras’s chances to get any money. By the Red Sox holding firm on an option they weren’t planning to pick up any way, weren’t the Red Sox at fault for calling the bluff when a concession would’ve been better for both sides? The front office is not hired to hold grudges, or run people out of town. Their job is to place the best players on the field. Did they think they made the best trade, by paying for both Ramirez and Jason Bay’s contract, not picking up a reliever, and losing their best hitter in the lineup? I only agree with this trade since I believe Bay was a player Epstein had his eyes on longer than we know, but that is another OBP-Moneyball story for another day.

They traded him, and they got Bay. I have no qualms with that. But I have an issue with the Boston media that has trivialized the Scott Boras influence, and has grossly overlooked the Gordon Edes article that clearly states the Manny camp intentions.

In your article, you ask Boston fans if my blood is boiling, and I will respond with a loud yes. I am saddened that Manny had to depart, but I find the fault not to be equal on both sides, but to be heavily pointed to Theo Epstein. He did not want Ramirez; he never wanted Ramirez. And he got his wish. And we lost a star.

People lose their minds over his antics, and when someone asks, ” But what about our World Series championships?”, the response is usually an ambivalent shrug of “So what?” statements. From there, I can see that Boston fans have become too far-removed and big-headed to understand the contribution of some of their best players.

I can’t expect better from Ramirez, because he brought a championship to a city who had been in a dire drought of hoisting the World Series trophy. To call it even, to ship Manny off, and to equate it with Brett Favre, Nomar Garciaparra, or Roger Clemens, clearly shows how little we truly appreciate what Manny has done for us. The antics do not outweigh what he did. Maybe a couple of missed playoff berths will bring us back to that reality.


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