Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Missing Manny

It's pretty clear to me that the departure of Manny Ramirez in July of 2008 is the one change that, more than any other, turned the Red Sox from a World Series champion into an also-ran.

In addition to his ungodly hitting ability, Manny provided a type of playful attitude that I think is sorely missing from the current squad. I do love the intense players, like Pedroia, Youkilis, and Beckett; and the quiet players, like Lowell. I am less enamored of the automatons like Bay and Drew. Papelbon does have his cut-up moments, but they tend toward the the out-of-control frat guy mode, which gets old quickly.

I maintain that 2004 doesn't happen without the inanity of former St. Paul Saint Kevin Millar. And Manny's "whatever" attitude after the Sox were down to Cleveland three games to one in 2007 was also a welcome relief from the gray-sky New England scowl that was on everybody else's face around here.

I do understand that Manny's off-field behavior was getting to be intolerable, and that it was beginning to ooze onto the field (refusing to play, claiming injury), and that he didn't really want to be here. I guess we have to assume that Terry Francona and Theo Epstein did everything humanly possible to get him to shape up. But I have to say that I miss the guy. I will be rooting for him to get a chance to beat the Yankees in the World Series.

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