Hey everyone, welcome to our weekly chat, The Manny Edition. With the Dodgers and Manny Ramirez coming to town this weekend, I'm interested in hearing your thoughts. Feel free to weigh in on other topics as well, but on with the chat.
Gordon, did the Sox really have to get the go ahead from the likes of Ortiz, Lowell and Varitek before pulling the trigger on the trade with the Dodgers and Pirates which included Manny?
The Red Sox made it clear that they spoke with the leaders of the club before they went ahead with the deal, yes. If they had voiced strong opposition to making the deal, I suspect the Sox would have backed off. They couldn't afford to lose the clubhouse at that point.
Not a question but a comment ... I have a feeling we're going to get a lot of people hating on Manny in the next few days. But I'll say this ... I miss him. He made the Red Sox interesting and exciting. Other than Papi, who's interesting on the Red Sox currently?
Bo, Love him or hate him, I agree that Manny was a show. I suspect I'm going to hear from more than a few people that they miss him. But how do you gauge excitement? Isn't Pedroia diving for a ball in short right field exciting? Beltre making a ridiculous stop at third? Victor Martinez hitting the ball all over the field? Youkilis delivering, time and again? Do you have to be a character to be exciting?
You think the Red Sox would have made the World Series in 2008 had Manny still been here? That team could not hit in the playoffs, especially in Game 7 against the Rays.
Given Manny's mindset before he was traded, no, I don't think you can confidently predict that they would have done so. Now we've seen Manny go in funks before and then come out of it, but particularly with the Red Sox not having moved on his options, I think this time he was bound and determined to leave. I think a healthy Beckett might have been a bigger difference maker in '08
What's the over-under on how many times Manny goes into the Green Monster this weekend?
Shawn, I'd say none. Does Manny ever repeat a stunt?
hey Gordon ... does Manny get cheered or booed at Fenway Park on Friday night? Personally, I think he gets cheered.
That's what I'm really anxious to see. There are many people who have remained true to Manny through thick and thin, and I wonder if they feel betrayed by Manny's expressions of unconditional love for LA while dissing Boston. I suspect it will be a mixed bag. lots of cheers from those who respect that there would be no World Series flags waving without Manny, but boos from those who didn't like the way he left. My guess? More cheers than boos.
Do I miss Manny?
Papi, I think you've made no secret of the fact that you miss Manny in the lineup, though I think you did grow tired of always answering him. I think what a lot of people have misunderstood, and which you reiterated to Rob Bradford in his interview on WEEI.com, that you guys were never as close away from the field as was commonly thought. Two very different people, you and Manny
Will you vote for Manny when he's up for the Hall of Fame?
Yes. Three great right-handed hitters of his generation: Pujols, A-Rod and Manny. A-Rod and Manny have both seen their achievements tainted by the Steroid Era, but I don't think I can properly parse the cheaters from the noncheaters of that ERA. The Steroid Era happened, they were among the signature players of that era.
What's your favorite all-time Manny moment?
off the top of my head, Rick, I guess I'd have to say the majesty of his walkoff that he hit off Francisco rodriguez in the ALDS, and his unforgettable reaction--arms thrust high over his head.
While there are more pressing issues (the gulf of mexico and afghanistan come to mind), I don't understand those who want to boo Manny. He's a weirdo, and I wouldn't invite him into my home, but I've also just described Schilling, Arroyo, Papelbon and Millar. Manny nearly backed out of signing with the Sox based upon the hiring of a clubbie. He was never expected to be erudite or rational. I expected to die without a championship, and Manny delivered two. He hit the tar out of Yankees pitching. His stats for July 2008 are otherworldly. People will boo, I'm sure, but Manny held up his end of the bargain--unlike a certain pitcher who took $8 million and then retired with a shoulder injury.
I think Andrew, that a lot of people share your opinion, although it seems like you have a very broad definition of "weirdo."
Ignoring the character issues, would you like to have Manny back with the Sox? at the rate Beltre is going through left fielders... the protection in the lineup might also be nice.
Alex, isn't that a little like asking, take away the iceberg, and do you think the Titanic was seaworthy? Manny is 38, and he's not exactly tearing the cover off the ball since he returned from his 50-game suspension. I think I counted 75 players who have hit more than the 18 HRs Manny has in that span, and his average and RBI total also were modest. He did little against the Phillies in the NLCS last season, other than take a shower while his teammates were trying to mount a comeback. Manny would never have been running hard enough after a flyball to collide with Beltre.
Hey Gordon, do you think the green monster at Fenway is something that Manny regrets leaving at this point in his career?
No, Shastri, I don't think Manny thinks that way. A lot of his power was to right-center and right, anyway, and Manny at his best could hit anywhere. He was very clear that he was glad to be rid of Boston.
What do think the Sox have gained by Manny leaving?
Marsha, it was very clear that the Red Sox were not going to exercise the options they held for two more years on his contract. Set aside the issue of how high maintenance he was; they simply believed that declining production would not justify keeping him. If they had not traded him in July, he would have been gone after October, anyway, in search of another big contract. The cycle of inevitable change just began earlier they would have liked; certainly, they would have hoped he'd help them win one more title. I think they had projected Bay to be more than just a one-year solution, so there's no question we're in a bit of a transitional phase here, but ultimately I think Manny freed up money spent better elsewhere. The impact in the clubhouse? Good question. Guys were willing to tolerate his antics as long as he produced; when that equation shifted, I think it created a negative vibe that had to be removed.
Bottom line: Manny played when he wanted to play, didn't when he didn't (more often than not). He put up prolific numbers but rarely hustled, was often disinterested and in the end became a huge distraction and quit on the team. To me that more than justifies all the boos I believe he'll receive this weekend. Whether you're making 20 million a year or the rookie minimum, run hard and respect the uniform. Too often he just didn't and that's why I could never root for him.
Charlie, that very succinctly expresses the other prevailing view of Manny...and one I often felt myself.
Will Manny DH or play outfield?
Braden, that's a question I hadn't thought about yet. It would certainly make sense for him to DH
What are the odds Manny comes up with a bad hammy this weekend?
either that, or another dying grandmother.
From a pure baseball standpoint, nothing gave me more joy than watching Manny Ramirez hit the baseball for the last decade, (or watching Pedro pitch for that matter) and one would be hard pressed to find another Sox fan who felt otherwise. Do you really think that the antics at the end of his reign are enough to lure Fenway faithful into booing the man who was most responsible (on the field) for the only 2 world series of most of our lives?
Pat, that was always the maddening aspect of Manny. He was a tremendously gifted hitter, and worked extremely hard at his craft. But he was also very high maintenance, and on more than one occasion checked out on the team. In the end, I suspect you're right--people will elect to recognize his contribution to two championship teams, but there will be more than a few folks who will let him know they didn't appreciate the crap, especially at the end.
Do you miss covering Manny?
Steve, Yes and no. He was frustrating from a reporter's perspective because he went years without talking...that was his prerogative and I accept that, especially since generally he was not unpleasant about it (though if I was the team, I might have wanted a little more communication from my $160m man. But obviously, he was a great story while he was here, both for his tremendous accomplishments and the sideshows. eight years of writing about him was probably enough, though
Standing O for Manny -- no question! With respect to Ted, one of the our best hitters. Ever.
Mike, I think there is some question, but you may well be right.
How to you think the Boston fans will receive Manny on Friday night, will they cheer him for being a huge part of two world series wins, or boo him for how he left town?
See Mike above. He's sure of a standing O.
Manny was maybe the best right-handed hitter I have ever seen
John, Cardinals fans might advise you to check out Mr. Pujols, but I've never covered a better RH hitter on a regular basis. Nomar gave him a run for a couple of years.
Gee, taking any Manny questions today? More important, Gordo - who gets the spot start against the Dodgers. Please don't tell me Bonzer.
Lando, sorry for coming across as a one-trick pony, but that was sort of the idea this week. the spot start answer probably will need to wait a couple of days. Wake could pitch Friday on regular rest because of the off-day, but they'd still need someone Saturday. Boof, I suppose, is a possibility, but I'd check Pawtucket's rotation, see whose day falls on Saturday. spot start for Felix Doubront?
Gordon - Who leaves with more respect for the Red Sox front office - Manny or Lowell?
a no-brainer, of course, Jeremy. as a hitter, Manny. As a human being, Mike Lowell.
Game 6 - Celtics or Lakers??
Man, Mark, after seeing the way the Lakers, non-Kobe division fell apart in Game 5, hard to pick against Celts...but I think we go to a Game 7
Hi Gordon, Will Manny ever don the pinstripes?
no, Matt, that ship has sailed.
First ballot Hall of Fame for Manny?
To me, he is. but there may be a few folks who will factor in the female fertility drug and hold back their votes.
Do you think that Jason Bay's performance during his time in Boston made people miss Man-Ram?
I don't know how people could have asked for more than Bay delivered, both at the end of '08 and last season. I still think a healthy Beckett would have been the difference-maker more than a doggin' Manny
I don't think there is any doubt that Manny should go into the HOF. My question is: what hat will he wear when he is inducted? CLE, BOS, LA?I'd hope Boston since he had most of success here. I'll be at the game Friday, and I will cheer him when he steps up to the plate for all he did for Boston Baseball. Yes, he caused a lot of problems, but he deserves a standing ovation.
Kyle, the Hall of Fame has a lot to say on that issue--note how they decided Andre Dawson will go in as an Expo even though he wanted to go in as a Cub--and I'd have to think the Hall would decide that Ramirez's career reached its ascendancy in Boston. That will be a Sox cap on his head
Hi Gordon, my father attended College of San Mateo, and so does my fiancee, so it was neat to see the against-the-odds rise of Daniel Nava to his big moment this weekend... Tell us west-coasters and especially those out here in the Bay, how much playing time will Nava see, short-term and season long? Francona seems to be impressed with his hitting ability, scouts be damned!
DRegan, i can't resist a Daniel Nava question even in the midst of Mannyville. What a great story, no? Nava not only is starting tonight, but will bat leadoff. for the short term, as long as he's hitting, he'll play. Long term? He's still a real longshot, but shoot, how do you bet against the kid after what he's beaten to get here.
Do you think Manny misses being a Red Sox? Also what do you think we are going to do before the Trade Deadline so we can actually make a push at the World Series.
I can only go on what the man has said, but I have no reason to think he misses Boston. He embraced LA and LA embraced him (Hooray for Mannywood) to a level he never knew in Boston. The romance was a short-lived one; the suspension and his average play since cooled it off, but no, I can't see Manny staying up nights, pining for Boston
Hey Gordon- I just finished up reading "Feeding the Monster" and was surprised to discover that in 2005 the Red Sox owners met with the players about trading Manny just like in 2008. But in 2005 the players said disapproved of the trade. What changed to the point in 2008 where they said get him out? Was it because of the increase in workman-like players (i.e. Pedroia, Youk) in the clubhouse or had the players finally had enough?
Alan, Seth Mnookin thanks you. I think what changed is the players finally had enough, and that they expected this time it wasn't just a passing phase
hey, thanks everyone, for an entertaining hour. We'll go back to discussing all things Red Sox next week