Transcript from the Dirt Dogs. I know most of you despise Gammons and won't believe a word he says but whatever. At least it's an attempt at what might be wrong with Manny.
5.12.05 Peter Gammons on WEEI's Big Show: "One thing I find interesting, that... and I think he gets, after his early days in Boston, he gets a wonderful ride, but the complete disappearance of Manny Ramirez as a real player. Yeah he hit a home run on the breaking ball yesterday, but he's a .260 hitter with a .880 OPS since the All-Star break last year. Doesn't there come a point where that becomes a little bit of a concern, he gets hit on the leg and doesn't play two games. I don't know. I find him as distracted as any time I can ever remember him... He just doesn't seem to be into the games at all. There was a time when he was a dominant offensive force at the end of games."
Steve Buckley: "And his defense is as lacking now as it's ever been."
Gammons: "I just wonder, this is a long time, same OPS since the All-Star game as Mark Loretta. Is that what you want for $20 million in a left fielder who's a defensive and baserunning liability?...Then they had him traded to the Mets this winter too... There are lot of things, just the way he walks and so forth, they wanted him to hit fourth and not third and he wouldn't do that. I don't know... I'm amazed a little bit that he gets the pass that he gets... maybe it's resignation. I had a fan come up to me at the ballpark and say "how in the world could you not pick Manny as one of the 5 best players in baseball? And I went "umm what?!? Kidding me?" I mean there were other priorities, the qualifications for the other selections were defense, baserunning, accountability, leadership. But I was just amazed, the guy was really angry about it. ...Their best player is their catcher."
(Michael Felger; "Because he brings all those intangibles) "Well he produces too."
Michael Felger: "You can't say he (Varitek) produces on the level of Manny Ramirez, Manny's the best right-handed hitter in the game when he's Manny Ramirez, you can't compare the two..." (talk about great Tek is)
Gammons: "Well he (Tek) understands and accepts responsibility. He's a very intelligent man. And accountability is to me something that's very important in baseball. And I think David Ortiz is an extremely accountable person. He got his contract although he is obviously one of the most underpaid guys in terms of his contract. Doesn't seem to be a problem. Goes out, doesn't brag about it, he's a leader in his own way. He is their, not Manny Ramirez, excuse me Michael you're wrong, David Ortiz is their best offensive player. NO question about it. No comparison. He is a dominant force in the lineup."
Felger: "Because he's hitting better right now but you're saying..."
Gammo: "HE's been better for two years Michael, watch the games. Watch what happens when good pitchers are on the mound. Watch against guys who throw hard, who throw inside. And watch what happens. I'm not talking about garbage time numbers, I'm talking about numbers that mean something."
Felger: "Pete, I'm with you, I'm just.. I'm just saying that I've heard people say it time and time again 'the best right-handed hitter in the game,' that's all I hear about Manny Ramirez, the best right-handed hitter in the game..."
Gammo: "WHO SAID THAT? Who said that?
Felger: "About Manny Ramirez? That's his title. That's all I hear about Manny Ramirez."
Gammo: "Oh, have you ever heard of Albert Pujols? Don't, don't make a fool of... please that's foolish to say that, that's... it's not worth a discussion. There are only two players in a comparable period of time in HIStory who have the numbers that Puljols does and that's Williams and DiMaggio in their first 4-1/4 seasons. He's the dominant right-handed hitter in baseball."
Very interesting, especially coming from Peter Gammons a guy who is an authority on everything Red Sox related. But I think there was a time when Gammons said that Manny was the greatest right-handed hitter in the game (it might have been 2 years ago when he said that). I do certainly agree with him about Manny's play; however, Manny has always been a great hitter offering few other intangibles. He has been such a great hitter that I cannot see him hitting .260 the rest of the year, so in the end, I believe that his numbers be closer to his normal production with maybe a slight drop off.
Thank god Gammons doesn't run a team - well, at least he doesn't run my fav team! You can be a complete jerk and still play be the damn best ball player in the game (not saying that Manny is, but I'd take him over Tek any day of the week. Freak I'd take Manny with one leg).
I had no idea, but those numbers since last All-Star break are a bit concerning for Manny owners/Sox fans. Manny has always been a guy I went after in the draft or trades, but this isn't the best of news.
Not sure what is so new about anything that Gammons is saying. He, like a lot of other sports 'experts', tends to just say shit to be heard; because, hey, that's what he get's paid for.
I think ANY sox fan is quite aware of Manny's 'oddities'. The guy is a space cadet and always has been. One of my friends who is a Yankees fans continuosly says "Ramirez? He's a clown!", and he's kinda right.
I love manny though, and he does fit in with the sox. These are players who play with their hearts on their sleeves. They aren't the mindless performers on the yankees, who attempt to show 'professionalism'. They are GOOD SPORTS, of course, but they HAVE FUN when they play.
Why are sox fans not like yankees fans? Because we are like the players we cheer for. We don't expect utter decorum from them nor do we expect them to always be at %100 every game of the season. They have bad days just like we do, and we understand that.
Baseball is the ultimate psychological pro-sport, and when you grow up watching players who show their emotions more, it creates an even greater intensity to the sport. Even when Manny comes to bat when he's in a slump, as one of the highest paid players in the game, people in the stands at Fenway are hoping he pulls it together, cheering to give him confidence, not sitting there cynically saying "gee, I wish he'd get his high-paid ass in gear already".
Gammons is just being flippant when he compares Manny to V-tek. Forget that tek is the captain this year, he's always been the catcher. Any catcher has to always have his head in the game, call the shots, be a confident partner to the pitchers, and be physically tough as nails. Left fielders? well, there's a reason why that old expression "are you out in left field?" came about.
Manny has ALWAYS been spacey. He comes to in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded when they're down 0-4 the same way he comes to bat in any other game. He is simply nonchalant. But when he makes contact, boy does that ball go places.
In the same Gammons piece (a radio conversation), he calls Varitek the best player on the Red Sox and Ortiz the bigger offensive force than Manny. I'm alright with calling Varitek the leader of the team, even the heart and soul of the Red Sox or whatever epithet you want to attach to him, but the BEST player? This just goes to show how delusional Gammons is.
By the way, I don't see Gammons harping on about Mussina's huge salary, and his talent tailoring off. No, for Mussina, it's always--"That guy's so smart; he went to Stanford" or wherever it is that he went.
Of ALL the players who signed huge contracts in and around the years that Manny signed a huge contract, I'm willing to bet that Manny's has stood out as the best value among them. So Gammons should just shut his little trap.