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

Further thoughts on Ramírez

If past blowups are any indication, we should assume that Manny Ramírez’s semi-annual late-July/early-August unpleasantness is now over, and that he’ll return to being a productive hitter the rest of the way.

So what was it all about? There were several factors that struck me as being different from past occasions, including: (1) his still-impressive though declining productivity; (2) the fact that the Sox can walk away from him at the end of the season; and (3) the unusual steps management has taken to make clear that it’s had enough of Manny’s act.

It’s pretty obvious that if Ramírez had taken himself out of the lineup yesterday, he would have been suspended. And if that had happened, I doubt he’d have been back at all.

As great a hitter as Manny is, he’s 36 years old, and he’s gone from consistent to streaky the past couple of years. If he’s on his way to being a .280-25-100 guy, well, that’s still good. But you can replace someone like that for a lot less hassle and a lot less money.

That said, I hope he goes on a tear for the rest of the season.

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  1. io saturnalia!

    Manny for El Caballo, straight up? I’d love to see Carlos Lee here and, well, Manny should have no trouble getting Astros tickets if he’s traded there, right?I, too, would like to see Manny stay, but $20 mil seems a bit steep at his current rate of production. Not crazily steep, but pricey, nevertheless.Still, Manny taking a chill pill and taking $17 mil a year for three years sounds about right. Somehow, though, I don’t think Boras is in any danger of losing his job to me.

  2. Don, American

    He needs a haircut, and maybe a spanking. Oh, I’m sorry; I’m just an interferring Californian.

  3. Kris Olson

    This was one last desperate attempt to shoot himself out of town, because he could force his new team to pick up one if not both of his option years, something he is now fully aware the Sox will not do.It’s not entirely unlike Schilling reversing field on whether 2007 would be his final year and trying to use the court of public opinion to extort a one-year extension from the team. The Sox wisely resisted and were able to sign him for less after the 2007 season (albeit with disastrous results for 2008).The difference, of course, is that Schilling was at least professional enough to try to get his extension during Spring Training, not in the midst of an extremely tight pennant race, just prior to a key series against your fiercest historical rival. That Manny cares more about those options, after earning $160-plus mil, than the pennant race, is simply nauseating.Like you, Dan, I hope he goes on a monster tear. Indeed, he needs to, in order to get that next deal. But in light of the events of the last week, we Sox fans can’t fully enjoy the pennant race due to the ever-present fear that the other Manny “shoe” could drop at any time. Just another reason I won’t shed a tear when Manny leaves at season’s end.

  4. mike_b1

    So Manny is thinking about his job and what he will get paid in the coming year. That makes him like precisely 99.8% of the working world.Like everyone else simply waits until the end of the fiscal year to talk with their boss about a raise.

  5. Kris Olson

    With all due respect, Mike, Manny’s doing a little more than “thinking about his job and what he will get paid in the coming year.” He is so consumed by it, he is letting it affect what the rest of us have to make our primary focus of our work day: doing a good job and having a little professional pride. I am a newspaper editor. Are you saying, if I felt like I was not being paid what I am worth, I can wait until a “key moment” — say right on deadline — and then tell my boss, “Yeah, you know what? Darn carpal tunnel’s acting up. I can’t put the paper out.” Then, only after my bosses send me out for a medical test that proves this carpal-tunnel stuff is a bunch of hooey and only under threat of suspension do I agree to get back to work. That’s basically what Manny did.

  6. Dan Kennedy

    I’m sitting at Borders writing my weekly column for The Guardian. I’ve got carpal tunnel right now. I’m playing hurt!

  7. mike_b1

    Kris, Manny has the second most plate appearances on the team, has the highest VORP (value over replacement player), the most homers, the second highest OBP (of the regulars)… What in that body of outstanding performance makes you write “he is letting it affect what the rest of us have to make our primary focus of our work day: doing a good job and having a little professional pride”?As for your walkout scenario, tell me newspapermen have never gone on strike. And when they did so, do you think they chose their timing at random? I certainly wouldn’t presume to know what you personally would do, so I find it stunning that the Boston media seems so certain of what is going on inside Manny’s head, especially when he doesn’t speak to them.

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