It seems appropriate to lead off this very special episode of “What They’re Saying About Manny” with the Los Angeles Times’s T.J. Simers. An accomplished Cynic of the Keyboard, he has been an unabashed supporter of Manny Ramirez since the slugger’s arrival in LA at the July 31 trading deadline last year. He has also been highly critical — perhaps rightly so in some instances — regarding the way Ramirez was treated in Boston.
But after yesterday’s bombshell, even Ramirez’s staunchest defenders are demanding truth and accountability now. Writes Simers:
I still like Manny, but he’s going to have to stand before everyone, no excuses, no vague explanations, names and details so no one need go looking for more information. No loose ends, and “I’m just on vacation” not cutting it this time.
If he’s been using stuff for months, even years, he needs to say so as the healing process begins. Say anything less than the whole truth and nothing but, only to have it emerge later, and ripping that scab open he might never recover.
He’s already lost the Hall of Fame argument with sports writers around the country, who look upon themselves as watchmen of the sport.
They didn’t like the way he abused the game in his final days in Boston, and most have long memories, because they think the game of baseball is sacred or something. Sometimes one has to wonder what they’re on.
Manny’s arrival here last season and immediate success really didn’t do much to change minds elsewhere, which accounted for his availability this past off-season. Now the naysayers have a new supply of ammunition.
Of course, why Ramirez’s reputation and legacy is greatly damaged nationally, Simers doesn’t think this spells the end of his popularity in LA:
So there’s a good chance we already know how this whole thing is going to end, probably a Sunday game against the Giants in late September, 50,000 people on their feet screaming, “Manny, Manny.”
This can no longer be Manny Ramirez’s team. This can no longer be his city. Dead is the notion he can lead. Dead is the notion that he can be trusted.
Once a great town, Mannywood has become a ghost town.
But how can anyone truly be shocked by revelations of another superstar being accused of, or confessing to, using performance-enhancing drugs?
After Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Alex Rodriguez already had been dragged face down through the mud?
I didn’t believe any of their denials and pseudo-explanations, and I don’t believe the excuse attributed to Ramirez, who did not show up at Dodger Stadium on Thursday to face his teammates and give his side of the story to the media mob that congregated behind home plate during batting practice.