Red Sox Nation deserves no sympathy today. Not John Henry. Not Theo. Not Terry. Not Big Papi. And definitely not the fans. This is a group that collectively sold its soul for two World Championships in four years, allowing and embracing Manny Ramirez’s bi-polar tendencies every step of the way.
But as the Yankees were in the midst of taking two of three in Boston, Manny let it be known that he was tired of the franchise and suddenly, the Nation decided it was finally fed up with the guy they still cheered even after he pushed a traveling secretary to the ground, watched three straight strikes from Mariana Rivera at Yankee Stadium (allegedly in protest of his fine for the previous incident) and laughed it up after an error against the Angels last weekend.
Who ever thought the devil could be so goofy?
Certainly not the Red Sox, who have constantly made excuses for their sensitive slugger during his run with the team. This is a franchise that has let go of much better men while it built and celebrated a brand out of Manny’s absurd antics.
Of course, no one the team ever let go was considered one of the top five right handed hitters in the history of the sport.
And that’s precisely why nobody should feel bad for the Red Sox, a team that is quickly deteriorating while its rivals are only getting stronger. If Manny wasn’t on pace to have the worst season in which he played more than 140 games of his career, would anyone be openly voicing their displeasure with him?
The answer is no. They would continue to be enablers and they would undoubtedly pick up the greediest athlete in sports’ $20 million option for next season. Think that’s strong? Latrell Sprewell made his infamous “I’ve got a family to feed” before the season started. ARod opted out of his contract during the World Series, but his team had long been eliminated by that time. Manny, on the other hand, is moaning about his contract with the Yankees in town in the middle of a playoff race.
He does this because he can. Because, like an overly-spoiled child, he doesn’t know any other way to act. And now, like the parent who suddenly decided it was time to be a disciplinarian instead of their child’s best friend, it’s hard for anyone to take the Red Sox seriously.