Tag Archives: Manny Ramirez

Tim McCarver will just make shit up

Pax Arcana

Back in the day, Pax Arcana would rush home from backyard wiffle ball games to hear Tim McCarver call Mets games on WWOR. Back then, McCarver was the knowledgeable straight man to Ralph Kiner’s hilarious progessive drunkenness throughout the games.

In 1999, McCarver was fired by the Mets for being too critical of the team. As a fan, it was my judgment at the time that there was no such thing as being too critical of that team. The late 1990s Mets were the biggest waste of goddamn money in baseball history.

For that, and because his was the first real baseball voice I ever knew, I have resisted joining the increasingly massive anti-Tim McCarver groundswell that has swept the nation.

I even tried to ignore his recent babbling about Manny Ramirez:

“It’s extraordinary — the dichotomy between what he was in Boston and what he is in Los Angeles,” MLB on FOX analyst Tim McCarver said, according to a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I mean, talk about wearing out your welcome in a town, and it was a long welcome with the Red Sox. But some of the things he did were simply despicable, despicable — like not playing, refusing to play. Forgetting what knee to limp on. And now it’s washed, it’s gone.”

But it’s just too much. Regardless of your opinion of Manny, the statement above is so full of shit that it’s a wonder that geysers of poo didn’t shoot out of Tim McCarver’s nostrils as he was saying it.

Thankfully Baseball Prospectus is here to set us all straight:

In July, when Ramirez was supposedly “refusing to play,” the Red Sox played 24 games. Ramirez played in 22 of them. This was tied for fourth on the team with J.D. Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury. He was sixth on the team in plate appearances (AB+BB) in July. Not quite Lou Gehrig’s numbers, but he helped out a bit more than David Ortiz (six games), and was in the lineup somewhat more often than peers such as Moises Alou (one game). Oh, he didn’t get three days off in the middle of the month-Ramirez played in the All-Star Game.

When he played, Ramirez killed the league. He hit .347/.473/.587 in July. His OBP led the team, and his SLGAB. The Sox, somewhat famously, went 11-13 in July. Lots of people want you to believe that was because Manny Ramirez is a bad guy. I’ll throw out the wildly implausible idea that the Sox went 11-13 because Ortiz played in six games and because veterans Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek led all Red Sox with at least 25 has sub-600 OPSs for the month.

Four days before he was traded, Manny Ramirez just about single-handedly saved the Red Sox from getting swept by the Yankees, with doubles in the first and third innings that helped the Sox get out to a 5-0 lead in a game they had to win to stay ahead of the Yankees in the wild-card race.

If all of the above is “refusing to play,” I would sincerely like to see what “trying” looks like.

But as every real baseball person knows, statistics only reflect someone’s abilities to, you know, hit baseballs and do other things that don’t really help their teams win. What about all those scrappy intangibles like scrappiness and dirty uniforms and scrapdirt and try-hardness?

As McCarver says, sometimes Manny would forget which knee he was supposed to be limping on zomg!!!!1!!!!111!.

Or not. The Joy of Sox does the dirty work here, tracing the origins of McCarver’s groundless assertion right back to … TIM MOTHERFUCKING MCCARVER!

It turns out that McCarver was repeating that exact same story more than two years ago!

On July 10, 2006, Will Carroll of Baseball Prospects wrote that Ramirez had been

taking a disproportionate amount of heat for missing the [All-Star Game], even getting openly questioned on yesterday’s Fox telecast. Tim McCarver said the worst thing about his knee injury was “remembering which leg to limp with.”

But McCarver isn’t alone. Turns out a lot of people were talking directly out of their asses about Manny’s supposed knee forgetfulness:

It’s clear from Edes’s “evidently”, CHB’s relegation of the remark to a parenthetical, and Celizec’s labeling Chuck’s comment a “quip” that there was no real source for this “story” — it was simply a media guffaw/snide remark.

However, Peter Gammons repeated the story as fact three days later, in his July 31 ESPN column:

Ramirez tried to sit, citing his knee. … If Ramirez hadn’t forgotten which knee was bothering him, he would have been more convincing, but he got mixed up.

Gammons offered no source for his statement and because the entire column is nothing more than a bitter rant against Ramirez, I cannot accept it as fact.

In the aftermath of Ramirez’s trade to Los Angeles, the tidbit gained traction (though it was never sourced, not even to the popular “anonymous source with knowledge of the situation”):

Jon Heyman, Sports Illustrated, August 4, 2008:

One landmark moment came when Ramirez complained of knee pain but couldn’t recall which knee was hurting him. Red Sox doctors had to take the unusual step of evaluating both the right and left knee in an MRI exam.

Tim Brown, Yahoo! Sports, August 8, 2008:

Last [the Red Sox] saw of Manny, he was stumping for a trade. He was crab-walking to first base. … He was trying to remember which knee hurt.

Tyler Kepner New York Times, October 5, 2008:

In the litany of Manny Ramirez controversies, it was not as egregious as reportedly forgetting which knee hurt when he visited a doctor this July. …

At least Kepner hedged his bets and said Manny “reportedly” forgot which of his knees hurt. … (It was also mentioned as a joke at The Spoof on August 19, 2008.)

Art Martone, the sports editor of the Providence Journal, told me the story

sounds awfully familiar, but I couldn’t find it anywhere in our archives. It may be an urban legend that’s been repeated so often it’s accepted as fact.

So there you have it. The story about Manny’s knee is as grounded in reality as those about Al Gore saying he invented the Internet.

Oh, by the way — as I type this, Manny is 2 for 3 with an RBI double and made a solid play in left to keep Pat Burrell out of scoring position on a laser beam to his right. So there’s that.

Facts About Manny Ramirez [Baseball Prospectus]
The Origins of “Manny Forgot Which Knee Hurt” [Joy of Sox]

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The final word on Manny Ramirez

Pax Arcana

I had the beginnings of yet another Manny Ramirez post bouncing around my head this weekend — it was to be a discussion of why flawed superheroes are more engaging than perfect ones, titled “Manny and Supermanny” — but frankly I’m just over the whole thing.

So let’s let Charlie Pierce have the final word:

For all the murmurings from the fainting couch by the local baseball romantics about how Manny Ramirez failed to respect The Game and did his teammates dirt, these same people seem more than willing to accept the proposition that the rest of your defending World Champions are made of candy glass. Is the poisonous presence of Manny Ramirez the reason catcher Jason Varitek is petrifying almost by the hour, or why Josh Beckett hasn’t thrown a changeup in six weeks, or why most of The Kids have been playing like people who got lost on the way to the AAA park? (Jacoby Ellsbury, the speedy young center fielder who was such a sensation in last year’s World Series, is hitting an abysmal .186 since the All-Star break and has stolen one base since June 17.) And has Epstein himself been so distracted by Ramirez’s performance that he’s failed to notice that his middle relief corps is a landfill? As near as anyone can tell, as the Rays and the Yankees both strengthened themselves for the final weeks of the season, the only thing the Red Sox front office worked on in the days prior to the trading deadline was finding a way to ship Manny Ramirez and his 20 home runs out of town.

Go read the whole thing.

By the way, Manny is 8 for 13 with two HRs in Los Angeles, and “chemistry” still doesn’t have a single RBI in the whole fucking history of baseball.

And Sean Casey is rotting on the bench.

OK now I’m done.

Burning Manny [Slate]


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10 things you didn’t know about Jason Bay

Pax Arcana

I’m not going to let my frustration at the Red Sox for their shabby handling of the Manny Ramirez situation prevent me from enjoying my favorite sport. In Jason Bay, the Red Sox have acquired a steady, disciplined hitter with a good reputation for baseball smarts.

That much we know. But just who is this Jason Bay character, you ask. What makes him tick?

I did a little research on the guy, and came up with 10 things you probably didn’t know about Jason Bay:

1. Jason Bay is Canadian. OK, you may have known already that Jason Bay was born in Canada. But did you know that he won the 2004 and 2005 Tip O’Neill Awards for being the very best Canadian player in all of Canada? Or that his sister Lauren pitched for the 2004 Canadian Olympic softball team? It’s true. Also, he is a graduate of J. Lloyd Crowe Secondary in Trail, B.C., which I think means he went to school more than 2,000 years ago.

2. Jason Bay was the only All-Star not to play in the 2005 All-Star Game. Despite his selection as a reserve outfielder for the 2005 All-Star game, Jason Bay was the only position player on either team who rode the pine for the entire game. Perhaps N.L. All-Star manager Tony LaRussa was shocked by Bay’s performance in the Home Run Derby, in which Bay was eliminated in the first round after hitting exactly no home runs. In fairness to Bay, Canadian field dimensions are measured in meters and not feet.

3. Jason Bay has a good vocabulary. In a recent interview with something called Baseball Digest Daily, Bay was asked if he regretted signing a deal with the Pirates that only netted him only $5 million a year. “Not really,” he replied. “I guess the parameters in which I signed that deal were a lot different than the parameters now.” Whoa! Parameters? What’s that, like, two meters? Take it down a notch, Einstein — we didn’t all go to school before Jesus was born…

4. Jason Bay is trendy. If Manny Ramirez is a streaky hitter, then “Jason Bay” is a streaky Google search term. A quick look at Google Trends shows searches for “Jason Bay” are relatively steady except that every year, right around the trade deadline and at the end of the season, his searches go up. Lookit:

Maybe the fact that he’s 29 and has already been on the Expos, Mets, Padres, Pirates, and now Red Sox says something about this guy — that he loves to Google himself to see where he is going next! Oh like you haven’t done it.

5. Jason Bay makes his own moose jerky. Actually I have no confirmation of this. I’m just assuming this is the case.

6. Jason Bay will save your life. I know a lot of people think Canada is all mountains, pot and poutine, but the truth is that our neighbors to the north have an awful lot of coastline that is enjoyed by vacationing citizens from Halifax to Vancouver. And Jason Bay patrols every inch of it. He’s always ready. He won’t let you out of his sight.

7. Jason Bay spelled backward is Yab Nosaj. OK, you kind of knew this, but did you really know it? I didn’t think so.

8. Jason Bay is in Malaysia. Despite the distinct North American blandness of his name and appearance, Jason Bay is also a popular windsurfing destination on the southern Malay peninsula. This Web site describes Jason Bay as “one of the few places near Singapore where you have a chance to get side-shore conditions during the NE monsoon.” So there you have it.

9. Jason Bay is unlikely to decapitate you. I’m not saying with 100% certainty that Jason Bay will never cut your head off in a drunken rage. I’m just saying his past track record suggests that such an event is unlikely. There is little evidence to indicate that Jason Bay is even interested in decapitating you, and almost no evidence that he would actually go through with it. Still, though — better safe than sorry.

10. Jason Bay has moved on. The mild-mannered Bay actually upset some Pirates fans last year when he suggested that the team had not exactly demonstrated a commitment to improving. Shocking, I know. Anyway he was lambasted in some corners of the Pittsburgh media and forced to address the issue before spring training this year. Here is how he responded to a reporter’s question about it. Try to imagine what it would be like to punctuate a transcript of this answer:

Nice line about Brian McNamee, though.


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Pax Arcana

As erstwhile Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez furiously pedals his 10-speed down Landsdowne Street looking for the subway to Los Angeles, we gather in this great hall to offer our heartiest congratulations — nay, congratufugginlations — to those who made this all possible.

Congratufugginlations #1:
The Boston Red Sox

Manny’s not necessarily the most astute or well-spoken person, but you have to admit he had a point when he told ESPN Deportes that the Red Sox had made a mission out of painting him as a bad guy. Regardless of how sick the Sox were of his supposed “antics,” they play things differently when they want to justify a trade. First, someone leaked the Jack McCormick story to Sean McAdam — a convenient, if wholly uncharacteristic, departure from the team’s usual silence on personal issues. The Sox brass then turned up the heat, openly deriding Manny for his trade wishes. Manny responded predictably — by tanking it for a few games — and the furor grew. Congratufugginlations, Red Sox, you outsmarted Manny Ramirez. Maybe next time you’ll find a more challenging adversary, like a goldfish or a hamster or something.

Congratufugginlations #2: Manny Ramirez

Here’s the thing, Manny. At the beginning of the season, you knew the Red Sox were unlikely to sign you to an extension. They were either going to pick up your 2009 option (if you played out of your mind) or they were going to cut you loose (if you played badly). Both options blocked you from signing one last big deal. So you did the honorable thing and came out swinging — at baseballs. You played well, but not spectacularly. And you sent the message to the Sox that you either wanted a new deal or you wanted out of town. Then they publicly painted you as some kind of cross between Mata Hari and the Kraken. At this point, your only option was to eat a whole bucket of humble pie, play hard, and boost your trade value. You did the opposite. Now you play for one of the truly poorly-run organizations in all of baseball. But hey, at least no one watches Dodger games. Congratufugginlations.

Congratufugginlations #3: L.A. Dodgers

The Dodgers are one of baseball’s most storied franchises. Snider, Robinson, Larsen, Koufax, Lopes, Garvey, Valenzuela, Gibson, Hersheiser, Lasorda — all powerful and important names to baseball lovers. Then they ran Paul DePodesta out of town and hired Ned Colletti, who in the course of just a few seasons managed to basically ruin a proud MLB franchise while handing out sacks full of gold bullion to Juan Pierre, Andruw Jones, and Rafael Furcal. Even worse, Colletti is desperate to trade genuine, cheap, young talents Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp for overpaid sluggers. Why? Forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown. Congratufugginlations, L.A. Dodgers, you only need Manny to hit 522 homeruns this year to be relevant.

Congratufugginlations #4: Red Sox Nation

A few years ago, when Boston won its first World Series in 86 years, a popular and stupid question to ask was how the legions of Red Sox fans would respond now that they had nothing to complain about. Four years later, the answer is clear. They would still complain about anything and everything that stumbled in front of their collective three-decker porch. And when Sox management spoon-fed the local media tales of Manny’s supposed clubhouse depredation, Red Sox Nation in the aggregate put down its steak bomb and its Marlboro Lights and turned on the anger jets — aiding and abetting the Sox effort to purge the second greatest hitter in Red Sox history from the payroll without taking a PR hit. Congratufugginlations, Red Sox Nation, and enjoy the 2010 season when suddenly David Ortiz is an orphan-kicking nihilist with ties to crack dealers. You heard it here first.


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Thursday trade deadline filler: Zombie Haiku

Pax Arcana

Padre and I have been a bit tied up today with fantasy football preparations meetings, and any Internet time is spent monitoring the ongoing silliness of the Manny Ramirez situation (my humble take: You have to be dumber than a fucking house full of boogers to think the Red Sox are better off without Manny in 2008).

To make it up to you, here is a video clip of zombies reciting haiku. Ahh zombies are scary we’re so frightened etc etc

Hat tip: Boing Boing


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Fine, I’ll solve the Manny problem

Father Scott

I’m as sick of hearing all the fuss over Manny Ramirez, Manny Ramirez being traded, Manny Ramirez’s ’09 option, Manny Being Manny, and all the rest of it as you are. Believe me. And I’m at the front of the pack when it comes to Manny enablers, so this means something.

This means, as Peter Gammons suggested on Sunday, that things are different this time around. It’s just just some fans and some media. It’s not just more fans, more media, and some of the organization. Pretty much everyone, including the players, seem to be fed up with him.

Rather than go on about whether this is right and hash over, for the 1000th time, what Manny’s thinking, maybe it is time to move on. The question on my mind became not whether or not to keep him, but, can we trade him and stay in the pennant race?

I think we can. Everyone says Manny won’t net much because of his distractions and because he’s a rental. Well, he’s still Manny. We could get something for him, surely. What we need to do is find another undervalued commodity.

That commodity is Adam Dunn. MLBTradeRumors (yes, a blog, but the best source for this stuff that you’ll find) has continually reported that there’s no interest in the Reds’ mashing outfielder. The reasoning is the same for Manny (his contract his up at the end of the year, so he’s a rental), but he’s also a frustrating player in that he hits for a low average and might field even worse than Manny. He’s even had some off-the-field questions, with some recent hullabaloo about not liking baseball that much.

As the guys at Fire Joe Morgan will attest, his high on-base percentage renders his low batting average unimportant, and he still crushes the ball with regularity (28 homers already in 2008). And we saw first-hand with 2004 World Series should-have-been MVP Keith Foulke, loving baseball is not a prerequisite to being good at it.

All indications are that the Reds will let Dunn, 28, walk this offseason and collect draft picks. With no interest in him around the league, all we’d have to do is find value to beat the draft picks. Obviously, the Reds, well out of the race, have no use for Manny, so we’d have to find a third team. What team could use Manny, would not find as many distractions for him, and wouldn’t necessarily care about his contractual situation (since Manny wants his options declined so he can chase another mega-deal in the offseason)?

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Angels for years have had a stockpile of young talent and never push toward the postseason. With their pitching, this is the year to do it. They can afford to give up one of their prospects for a two-month rental. MLBTR has already noted that they aren’t interested in Dunn, and that their assistant GM laughed off a Robb Quinlan and Brandon Wood for Mark Teixeira deal. A Manny acquisition would be in the same vein. If the price dropped just a bit — just to Wood, a once big-time prospect whose promise has tarnished a bit having moved to third from SS — the deal makes sense for all sides. It wouldn’t have to be him necessarily, but one of their guys who hasn’t reached the bigs yet would suffice.

The Angels go from regularly batting Maicer Izturis (!!!) third to batting future Hall of Famer Manny Ramirez there, protected by Vlad Guerrero. Their front six (Figgins, Kendrick, Ramirez, Guerrero, Hunter, Kotchman) looks really strong, and their pitching staff is unaffected. Further, with a surplus of outfielders, they can DH Ramirez and hide his fielding woes (which are hidden, a little, at Fenway).

The Reds get something for Dunn. While draft picks are becoming more valuable with the way organizations are being run, picking up a prospect like Wood, further along in his development, would be great for this team. They could try and slide him back to short, or let him compete at 3rd with Edwin Encarnacion (who they are strangely attached to). In any case, it’s another young guy they can add to their core of pitchers and Brandon Phillips, hopefully with aims of competing at some point.

And the Sox replace Manny with a guy who, while not as good of a hitter, will produce 90% of the numbers and whose defense will be hidden thanks to the Monster.

These teams match perfectly — the Reds have a million young pitchers; they’re maybe the only team who can get away with a rebuilding effort where they need to bring in a position player instead of a pitcher. The Angels have a gazillion (I looked it up, that’s the exact number) young guys, so losing one doesn’t hurt them long-term, and adding Manny helps them tremendously short-term. And the Sox keep plugging along toward the Series sans distractions, though, admittedly, they become predominantly left-handed.

It’s a win-win-win as long as the Angels realize that at some point they have to cash in one of their young chips and make a run at the Series.


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Manny the torpedoes

Father Scott

With WEEI and every local media outlet on full “Let’s get Manny out of town” assault, I’m pretty sick of thinking about him in a serious way.

Do we pick up the option? Sign him to a long-term deal? Acknowledge that he assaults teammates and old staff members? I don’t know (sure I do: keep him. He makes me smile, that’s why I watch baseball). That’s why they pay Theo (they could pay me instead, if they’d prefer).

I love him, and I love the Dugout (the official chat room of MLB).

Admittedly, I don’t really understand how to read the Dugout. Are they actually in the chat room? Are they in person and we’re seeing a transcript? Are they children? Who knows, it’s just funny. 

Most of all, I love when the Dugout involves Manny. This one involved Manny’s recent jaywalking arrest and his pre-offense conversation with Johnathan Papelbon. If only they found a way to work Kyle Farnsworth into it…

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Manny Ramirez can see into the future

Pax Arcana

We’ve already confirmed that Manny Ramirez is the smartest baseball player in the world, but what we didn’t know is that the success rate of highly skilled hitters like Ramirez is largely a function of their ability to see into the future.

That’s according to ABC News, which interviewed a bunch of scientists to figure out exactly how anyone can hit a baseball traveling at close to 100 miles an hour from only 60 feet, 6 inches away. Everything we know about cognition and reflexes says that should be impossible.

The answer is that batters are actually swinging at a ball they haven’t really “seen” yet:

“The batter can’t actually react to what he sees, because [the ball] would be past him” by the time he reacts, said Richard A. Andersen, professor of neuroscience at the California Institute of Technology. The batter’s brain may not be fast enough, but Andersen’s research suggests it can make up for that by predicting the future.

The batter picks up visual clues, such as how the pitcher is holding the ball, to predict where the ball will be in less than a second, Andersen said in a telephone interview. And of course the batter probably also knows a lot about the pitcher, including his favorite pitches.

The article also points out that the time between when the pitcher releases the ball to when it crosses the plate is shorter than the span between heart beats. With the exception of Alex Rodriguez, of course, who had his heart surgically replaced by a computer built by marketing executives.

Why Even Great Batters Strike Out [ABC News]


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Coco loco

Perry Ellis

We missed this last night, because these days we’re more about basketball than baseball (for one thing, it’s only June and for another, the Celtics & Lakers are tilting for the milkshake trophy), but apparently Coco Crisp (insert sugary cereal joke here) pitched a nutty last night in the Lyric Little Bandbox:

“I will break you!”

Wait, it gets better. That wasn’t the only spat of the night, evidently, because The Greek God of Walks and Manny “Wherever They Pitch It I Hit It” Ramirez got into a little kerfluffle in the dugout:

“Looks like Youkilis questioned Manny on either not playing in the outfield or not doing enough in the brawl and Manny reacted and they had to be separated.”

It’s true. Baseball really is all about chemistry.


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Padre Linktastica: Manny has gas money

Father Scott

Father Scott’s in a pretty good mood today. Maybe it’s the rays of sunshine permeating his office and raisiniffying some grapes for Pax Arcana. Maybe it’s the charming and carefree way in which he led this morning’s weekly meeting. Maybe it’s the optimistic forecast he read about one of his investments. Maybe it’s just leftover smiling from Pax’s gigglefest this morning.

Or maybe it’s this: Our newest dear friends at boston.com have a video of 2008 MLB MVP (so far) Manny Ramirez holding court after today’s Opening Day win over the Oakland A’s. I’d embed the video, but WordPress : embedding :: Bill Plaschke : baseball analysis.

Did I turn the lights off in my car? Wait, did I drive here today? What day is it? 

I’m not sure I can handle a talkative Manny — part of the fun is the enigma he is. Will we have to change the phrase “Manny being Manny” to “Manny being Curt Schilling”? Either way, it’s good to hear that Manny will be able to fill the tank of his Escalade every ten minutes despite the rising gas prices.

In related news (related in that I’m typing it), I’m once again Tuesday Tubby Tearfest-less. I missed most of last week’s episode and am thus not prepared to offer crying or losing predictions. And yet I will: Kelly’s gotta be gone, and I think there will be 11 cries.

Other awesome links:

1. Our newest Blogroll addition whips one up just for Pax. [Stuff White People Like]

2. A to-the-point self-assessment on Adam Duritz’s career. [Paste Magazine]

3. Donyell Marshall blogs about his trade to Seattle and reveals that Kevin Durant may not be too popular with his teammates. [Donyell Marshall, via TrueHoop]

4. An argument that Miguel Cabrera’s new $150M+ contract is a major steal. [Sabernomics, via MLBTradeRumors]

5. A recap of last week’s Biggest Loser. Thank the good Lord Brittany’s gone. [NBC]


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