(WBZ-TV screen image)
The Yankees were in town. Big Papi returned. Youk got hit again. A-Rod got knocked down. Jon Lester shined. But the big story in town and around Red Sox Nation over the weekend continued to be the ongoing exploits of Manuel Aristides Ramirez. Here's the latest roundup and recap of all things Manny from around the web and beyond:
- WBZ-TV has the video of Manny's impromptu comments to reporters gathered yesterday in the Red Sox locker room, where the controversial slugger closed his comments by saying "09 I move on":
“I don't want to talk to them about contracts right now," Manny said. "So what? I know they got me, but enough is enough. I'm tired of them, they're tired of me. After 2008, just send me a letter or whatever. You don't even got to call my agent or whatever. 'Hey, thank you for everything. You're going to become a free agent. We're not going to pick up your option in '09.' I’m happy, but enough is enough, you know? That’s it… (what does that mean?) They know, you got to ask Theo and John Henry, they know. I gotta go hit guys. Don’t worry about it. Enough is enough… ’09, I move on.”
- ESPN's Peter Gammons sat down with WBZ-TV's Dan Roche in a segment that ran on Sports Final last night and said that Manny has a fantasy of getting a new contract for four years worth $100 million. Gammons also implied that Manny was taking a seat against some harder throwing righthanders this season.
“I don't think there's any question it's a distraction and it's not a humorous distraction because Scott Boras put it very well, 'for $160 million for eight years, there is an obligation to perform for the team,' and Manny doesn't seem to understand he has an obligation to the Red Sox," Gammons said. "He only sees an obligation to himself and for the first time other than 2006 when they were out of it, I think it's really come to a head here and I have no idea how it's going to resolve itself because he'll be very happy to walk away; not care less about whether the Red Sox win another game and try and go out on the market this winter and get his fantasy of $100 million for four years, which I don't think is possible. ... I don't think the Red Sox will get anything back [in a trade]... I don't see it happening...
"I find it a little different this time around. I don't sense that this rallying of 'poor Manny' [in the clubhouse]. There's a sense that... they're trying to fight for their lives, they've had a lot of guys hurt, they're out on the road... 'let's see, I'm not going to play the two games this season against [Mariners pitcher Felix] Hernandez. He didn't play the two games against [Yankees pitcher Joba] Chamberlain. He didn't play against [Reds pitcher Edinson] Voquez. He didn't play against [Tigers pitcher Justin] Verlander. I think other teammates look at that and say 'Oh, he doesn't want to play against the hard throwers,' take the day... I think that's also worn people out. ...
"Apparently $168 million isn't enough. I know there's been frustration on ownership's part in the past. I think the frustration is now anger and I'm not sure it's resolvable."
- ESPN's Buster Olney writes in his blog today about the ongoing saga:
"The more you think about Ramirez's situation, the sillier it seems. Manny says he's sick of the Red Sox and they're sick of him -- and it really should be very easy. They're paying him a huge salary and all they want for him is to play and have success -- and he somehow manages to create all kinds of doubt about whether he is skipping games. If he just played, then there wouldn't be any problems."
- Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports wrote yesterday that Manny told some players he considered sitting out until the series against the Royals, which starts on Aug. 4: “... several days before Ramirez missed two games, citing a knee problem, Red Sox players sensed from his demeanor that he was about to shut down," Rosenthal wrote. "Once Ramirez was out, he told some teammates that he might not play 'until Kansas City' -- a series that begins a week from Monday, after the Red Sox's current nine-game homestand.
"Management responded forcefully, sending Ramirez for MRIs on both knees and telling him that there would be consequences if the tests came back clean. Once they did, their message to Ramirez was clear: You need to play."
- Another curious comment from Manny in his interview with ESPNDeportes: "I could choose a team that offers me the best conditions or one in the chase for the postseason. I don't care where I play, I can even play in Iraq if need be. My job is to play baseball."
- Speaking of baseball in Iraq, Adam Blickstein reposts a 2005 New York Times report about the conditions on the ground like for Iraqi baseball:
"The players laid out the bases at the edge of a fallow soccer pitch, where the grass had grown to shin height and was full of dust from sand storms. A herd of cows and sheep grazed nearby. The players drew from a communal stockpile of gloves - most do not own their own - and took turns batting and running the bases.
"There were a lot of wild throws, and few hits made it out of the infield. The shortstop was out of position, playing nearly on top of second base, and for some reason everyone referred to the catcher as "the umpire." Many players in the league said they had never seen the sport played by non-Iraqis; even Mr. Ismael has only seen college or professional players from abroad on instructional DVD's and videos."
- SI.com's Jon Heyman writes that Manny is unlikely to get traded by Thursday's deadline:
"Though there's no evidence those teams have spoken, Red Sox officials wonder whether the presence of Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, who was close to Ramirez when Manuel was hitting coach in Cleveland, could provide a lure for the hitting star. The New York Post first speculated Philly could be a possibility.
"There may not be another realistic landing spot. While Mets GM Omar Minaya is a longtime admirer, it appears the Mets have little or no interest. Ramirez himself is believed to relish the thought of playing either in Arizona or Anaheim, but his $20-million salary and contractual situation would discourage the Diamondbacks, and an Angels person said they are 'pretty well set' unless something would 'fall into our lap.' Can't blame 'em, as they've been the best and most consistent team in baseball.
"Meanwhile, the Red Sox are also unlikely to trade Ramirez unless they can find an immediate replacement, a near impossibility considering the small number of potentially available players who could approximate his production. The Red Sox don't want to break up their team to trade for Rockies superstar Matt Holliday. 'We'd wind up worse if we did a deal for him,' one Boston person said."
- In today's Providence Journal, Sean McAdam writes that the Red Sox are talking to teams about the possibility of acquiring Manny:
"... the Sox have begun discussions with teams to ascertain Ramirez’s value, with the deadline drawing near, even as Ramirez doubted that the Sox would follow through...
"As of last night, it was believed that four teams had spoken to the Red Sox, all from the National League: the Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets, Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers. The Sox could be reluctant to deal Ramirez to another American League team out of fear that he could help keep them from reaching the postseason, or once there, block their path to the World Series."
- In today's Boston Herald, Steve Buckley writes that the Red Sox "truly can’t count on Manny's support for the remainder of this season."
- Bill Ballou writes in today's Worcester T&G that Manny's negotiating tactics leave a lot to be desired.
- The New York view on Manny includes Jon Harper of the Daily News writing that the "Yankees have closed the gap significantly on the Red Sox, and not just in the standings," partly due to the Manny distraction. In today's Newsday, Ken Davidoff writes that Manny won't be leaving just yet. The New York Times Jack Curry has John Henry e-mailing that "it would be premature to comment now on an off-season contractual issue.”
Manny wasn't in attendance, but the New York Post has Alex Rodriguez dining with David Ortiz on Saturday night in Boston. What's interesting is that the pair dined at Jer-Ne, which is located at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel... which is where Manny and Enrique Wilson of the Yankees reportedly met on a Saturday night in August 2003 during the time when Manny missed an entire three-game series with the Yankees because of acute pharyngitis.
- In the Globe, Dan Shaughnessy weighs in on Manny and his tiresome act. Gordon Edes and Amalie Benjamin write that Ramirez is open to a trade if both sides can be "happy."
- In today's Boston Sports Blog, Eric Wilbur writes that Theo Epstein should try to trade Manny and adds, "For all he has done on the field for the Red Sox, Ramirez's actions have left a stain on his place in Red Sox history."
- On Saturday, Chad Finn chimed in on what Manny should have said regarding his two-game hiatus.
Fans at Fenway sounded off on the Manny saga on Friday night.
And you can check out all the latest Manny trade rumors in The Buzz.
- Rob Crawford, the vice president of Red Sox Nation, writes that we might as well just trust Manny:
"We can believe that Manny is telling the truth about his knee, or we can believe that he’s lying about it (or exaggerating). Either way, none of us knows whether his knee is truly hurt or not, so we might as well TRUST Manny."
- On the lighter side, we put together a photo gallery of some of the names the Sox could consider to replace Manny in Boston. Red Socks Diaries has "Manny" being part of the NESN Comedy All-Stars. And Fran Litz on Portfolio.com unveiled yet another Manny being Manny moment that thankfully didn't take place in Boston.
What do you think of the Manny mess? Chime in with your comments.