Red Sox headlines I’d love to see:I wonder if Shank cleared this column with John Henry first?
Manny finds God, Sox lose minds
Let me see if I have this straight: Manny Ramirez hit like Jimmie Foxx for 7½ seasons in Boston, but it turned out he was cheating with PEDs the whole time. His name appeared on the list of 104 players who tested positive in 2003, and later he was twice suspended for failing drug tests. He’s the only big league star who got caught three times.
Ramirez also regularly ignored the kids from the Jimmy Fund and the soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital. He was arrested for hitting his wife. In his final year with the Red Sox, 2008, he assaulted a 65-year-old Sox employee over a ticket request, then quit on the team in midsummer, forcing a trade after staging a sit-down strike.
After quitting on the Sox, he went to Los Angeles and hit .396 with 17 homers and 53 RBIs in the final 53 games of the season. Without Ramirez, the Sox went on to lose the seventh game of the 2008 AL Championship Series to the Tampa Bay Rays.
So what happens? On the night the Sox chose to honor the most important team in their 114-year history, they made Manny the featured character. After legitimate Sox gods Pedro Martinez, David Ortiz, and Curt Schilling were asked to step aside — Bloody Sock Schill was making his first public appearance while in the throes of a serious battle with cancer — Manny came out from the Green Monster and had the honor of throwing the ceremonial first pitch.
UPDATE at 1:24 PM - Did Shank and Kirk Minihane co-write this column or something?
First, I'm on the anti-Manny side of this. A serial steroid abuser, a guy who quit on his team, skipping Jimmy Fund after Jimmy Fund event, blowing off Walter Reed, beating up old guys and his own wife -- we all know the greatest hits. He's personified everything that's been wrong with baseball the last 15 years, and the Red Sox decide to give him above-the-title billing for the 10th anniversary celebration of the 2004 World Series champions Wednesday? A stunningly tone-deaf move by the Red Sox, basically endorsing all the many transgressions of Ramirez.