It's been a little over two months since Manny Ramirez was traded to the Dodgers. Most fans in Boston, LA, and fans of the game in general, would agree that both teams seemed to benefit. The Dodgers went on to win the NL West, the Red Sox took the AL Wild Card. Both teams advanced to their League Championship Series.
However, some refuse to accept the fact that Manny Ramirez had to go. Most of these people are stupid, heavy drinking, know-nothing know-it-alls that simply can't admit that they're wrong about anything. If you listen to WEEI, Bill from New Hampshire is a perfect example of this miserable lower class of fan.
Maybe we should start calling ESPN's Page 2 columnist Bill Simmons, Bill from Connecticut. His recent 10,000 word rant about Manny being an innocent pawn in a game of chess between Theo Epstein and Scott Boras came out right as the postseason got underway.
I can imagine Bill Simmons gritting his teeth every time the Red Sox failed to deliver with runners on in the ALDS. I can imagine him proclaiming "That's where we miss Manny." And I can imagine a small part of him wanting the Red Sox to lose so that the departure of his flaky idol would be blamed for the failure.
Just to put a few facts out there: Manny Ramirez is a grown man. He's a goofy bastard, but he's no child. He hired Scott Boras, not the other way around. And as much influence as Boras may have wielded, it was still Manny who gave the green light in the end. It was still Manny who took three strikes in Yankee Stadium. It was still Manny who shoved a Red Sox employee to the ground, slapped Kevin Youkilis in public, demanded a trade, and faked injury in the middle of a pennant race.
Simmons repeatedly argues that the Sox could have suspended Manny if they wanted to get him in line. In other words, punish the player who doesn't want to play by not letting him play. That makes tons of sense, Bill.
The Red Sox front office has a history of tarnishing the reputation of departing superstars. They use leaks in the media all too wisely. Simmons thinks these leaks are a form of propaganda, and that the club has a stranglehold on the Boston sports media. But maybe, just maybe, the front office spins exiting stars negatively because of overly attached fans like Simmons.
Then again, how much bad stuff came out about Johnny Damon? Or Derek Lowe?
The most irritating part of Simmons' rant is that he tries to come off as the voice of all Sox fans. He thinks himself Tribunus Plebis (tribune of the people) of Red Sox Nation. But it's difficult to have the pulse of a New England fanbase from Los Angeles.
Simmons and a few other Sox fans suffer from the pie-in-the-sky desire to have a productive Manny Ramirez still here. This is understandable, but also silly. Perhaps the Ramirez fiasco could have been avoided had the Sox agreed not to exercise their options at the end of the season. Then again, why should the team do that just to appease one player? A contract's a contract.
Either way, Manny Ramirez forced the issue to a point of no return, not Theo Epstein, not Scott Boras. It wasn't Epstein or Boras who lost the respect of the Red Sox clubhouse, it was Manny. The Red Sox didn't vote 23 to 1 to oust Boras, or fire Theo; they voted to trade Manny.
Simmons can belittle the success the Sox enjoyed with Manny by pointing out their weak schedule. But the Sox just took 3 of 4 from the Angels... the only 100 win team in baseball... and 2 of those wins were in Anaheim... and Jason "No Playoff Experience" Bay was one of the heroes.
I can envision a few weeks from now, if the Sox win it all, a Bill Simmons blurb about how much more fun the Red Sox rolling rally would have been if Manny Ramirez had been there.
Scott Boras Drawing From: