By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Is that all there is?

I’ll reserve judgment over the latest contretemps regarding Manny Ramírez. But I do want to flag an unsettling quote from Bob Lobel in Dan Shaughnessy’s column today.

It was Lobel, formerly of WBZ-TV (Channel 4), who took to WEEI Radio (AM 850) earlier in the week to report that Ramírez had (a) been fined six figures for shoving traveling secretary Jack McCormick and (b) infuriated management by taking three straight called strikes from Mariano Rivera to protest his punishment. Now Red Sox officials are denying it — especially (b).

Here’s Lobel talking to Shaughnessy:

I don’t think this is false information. It’s not something I’d make up. It didn’t come to me in a dream. I know it’s not in their best interests to talk about this, but I’m pretty confident with what I said.

Whoa. Lobel doesn’t think this is false information? Now, there’s a lofty standard. Given that Gordon Edes has reported the fine was about 10 percent of what Lobel claims, I think Lobel owes us more, although he obviously can’t out any anonymous sources he may have.

As for Manny looking at three straight pitches, I watched that game, and yes, it was disconcerting. But Ramírez had preceded that with some big-time loosening-up in the on-deck circle. If he were trying to send a message to management, you’d think he’d just kneel there, immobile.

I forget who the television analyst was, but his explanation that Manny was looking for a pitch in a specific location made sense to me. When Rivera is on, he’s not exactly easy to hit.

Sorry for the relative dearth of links. I’m having Internet problems today.

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  1. paul

    On the merits, it looks like Lobel got the story wrong. But I think it’s a huge deal that the Globe is not a disinterested party — they are partial owners of the Red Sox. I also noticed that Edes was on NESN Friday night pushing his story — NESN is partially owned by the Red Sox. I’d feel a lot more comfortable saying Lobel’s wrong if the Herald broke this instead.

  2. jvwalt

    Why does the Lobel thing seem to be resonating so much more than the heated remarks between Manny and John Henry? There’s no question about the latter’s authenticity, and they seem much more significant in terms of the Manny-Sox relationship. I guess there’s something sexier about questioning Manny’s effort in a game situation, but I’m more concerned about Manny saying that management lied to him and Henry calling it a personal insult.

  3. jvwalt

    Sorry to double post, but another thought… Can we infer anything about the Globe/Sox relationship, when stories like this are appearing on WEEI and in the Herald? It’s striking that Shaughnessy is reduced to pontificating on reports in other media. Did the Globe’s reporters not hear about any of this, or is the paper reluctant to publish bad news about the Sox?

  4. mike_b1

    It was Remy who made the in-game comment. The thing is, two of those pitches were in Manny’s sweet spot, inner half of the plate and belt-high. It did make me wonder whether Manny tanked that at bat.But…I wouldn’t go on radio or TV with such speculation. And I would be more than surprised if Manny himself said anything. Which means…it’s all speculation. Here’s what I want to know: If Manny was indeed fined, will The CHB write a column apologizing for his hypercritical whining over the Sox’s handling of the McCormick matter? (Answer: No.)

  5. Anonymous

    Dan- This is what Red Sox Management has done for awhile and Bob Lobel has been their mouthpiece. Bob- told the world that NoMar hurt himself playing soccer with Mia(Nomar’s wife) but never presented any proof. He also was quick to spin the Red Sox version of why Pedro left. He has been ownership’s “golfing buddy” since the start. I will not defend Manny all the time or any player. What he did to the Traveling Sec was wrong and no one can defend that. John Henry never comments on that matter but emails the world when Manny is concerned about ownership being two-faced. It never gets any lower than to accuse a player of whiffing on purpose. Yet Bob puts this out there with no proof! Let’s all be very thankful WBZ did not renew his contract!

  6. Dan Kennedy

    Mike: No, it wasn’t Remy. The game was on ESPN that day. I’d have remembered if it was Remy.

  7. Dan Kennedy

    Mike: One other thing. Don’t you think it’s at least somewhat meaningful that Manny agreed to pinch-hit and then obviously got good and ready while on deck? If he didn’t want to pinch-hit, wouldn’t he have just told Tito, “No”?

  8. Lefty

    Remy’s daily newsletter points out that an aging Manny may no longer be an asset to the team. As JR has always been a Rameriz booster: “One day the Red Sox are going to open a season and Manny won’t be there. I don’t look forward to that day,” I’d suggest the penthouse be put on the market.

  9. Dan Kennedy

    Lefty: Power numbers way off last year, though he did have a good post-season … much streakier the past two seasons … for the first time in his career, shows signs of not being able to get around on a really good fastball. That’s what we’re all seeing. Unless he has a monster second half, I don’t think I’d pick up the option.

  10. Anonymous

    Is Lobel still a working sports reporter?

  11. mike_b1

    Dan, you’re right: It was the Sunday night ESPN game. My bad.Re Manny pinch-hitting, that’s a fair question, and one to which I don’t really have an answer. I just thought it odd that he took three strikes from a guy who 1) throws only pitch (the cutter) and 2) throws strikes.

  12. Anonymous

    The main problem I see is not that a former newscaster went on the radio to spout some random rumors – that’s completely predictable. The problem is that ran with the story, on no other confirmation than one “reporter” talking on the radio. A short step away from basing a story on an ordinary caller I’d say. The globe, which has actual reporters held to basic standards of journalism, refuted the story within a couple of hours, but the damage had been done – many people now believe the initial report – when there’s no evidence that it’s true. From a strictly news-gathering perspective, this is far more important than how much Manny was fined or whether he tanked an at-bat.

  13. Steve

    In defense of Mike here, though, I *have* heard Remy make that comment about Manny (he goes up there looking for a specific pitch and location). I think it was sometime during that week, because watching that AB, I remembered the same thing.It was an infuriating sight, though.

  14. mike_b1

    anon 12:16: It’s the classic tale. “We’re just reporting what other people said.” It’s an easy way to air the dirty laundry without being on the hook for yellowing the journalism. It’s also a total copout. When was the last time The CHB broke a story, anyway?

  15. j g

    Jon Miller and Joe Morgan were the ESPN announcers on the 6 July game in question

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