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At this point, this week’s Boston Metro column seems a bit like piling on–after all, what else is there to do on the off-day after three consecutive losses but rip the manager? But I promise you, gentle UmpBump readers, that when I wrote it at the crack of dawn Tuesday morning, I was a lone voice crying in the wilderness.

Now, however, there’s a new mini-scandal in the Boston papers this morning concerning (who else?) Manny Ramirez. Yes, he actually talked to reporters! And though he said he would trade his individual records for another World Series in a heartbeat, this is the phrase that raised eyebrows today:

“It doesn’t happen, so who cares? There’s always next year. It’s not like it’s the end of the world.”

Asked about that comment this morning on WEEI, Boston’s sports talk station, Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino said the only thing that made sense: that such “calmness” is what makes Manny Ramirez such a great hitter (and, I might add, such a dangerous hitter with two strikes against him).

I’d like to go one step further with that comment, however. In 2003, Red Sox Nation turned an offhand comment by Kevin Millar into the postseason slogan, “Cowboy up.” In 2004, it was Curt Schilling’s rhetorical question, “Why not us?” Clearly, what was lacking from the 2005 playoffs was a catchphrase. Let’s not make that mistake again, Sox fans. I submit for your approval, the 2007 postseason mantra, courtesy Manny Ramirez:

“Who cares?”

It’s bold. It’s shocking. It’s completely counterintuitive. I like it.

8 Responses to “Playing the blame game in Beantown”

  1. It’s Manny being Manny. And it’s also part of what’s wrong with baseball today. Pretty much what’s wrong with society (yes, I went there). People don’t have any loyalty to where they work anymore. Some players really get into the spirit of the town they play for. But most just see it as another paycheck, another town that they’ll soon move on from. Manny just cares about being great. Okay, that’s good for us for the time being, but the thing is that he doesn’t care who he’s playing great for. He couldn’t care if it was for Boston, for New York or for Seattle. Whoever will pay the most for his talent, he’ll be happy to go to. I like Manny, but when it comes to the fanatics of Beantown, shut the f*ck up and win the damn game!

  2. Sarah Green says:

    AT, I get what you’re saying, but I don’t understand how your comment follows from what Manny said yesterday. Or is it just the frustration of the past week talking?

  3. You know what, though? He’s absolutely right. It’s not the end of the world. I understand that fans want to know that their team’s players are “fired up”. But when it gets down to it, I think a lot of players don’t care as much as the fans do about winning. And that’s their prerogative.

    I guess it’s just more in line with my personality but I don’t see what the problem is, really. I mean, I think it’s safe the say that he won’t purposely tank. Not everyone is a “rah-rah” kind of guy. I much prefer hearing real comments like this than the usual “one day at a time” and “we have to pick each other up” crap.

  4. Sarah Green says:

    Paul, I agree that Manny is right, and I agree (as I hope is clear in my post) that I really don’t have a problem with his comments—I think Boston is just hyperventilating a bit after three losses and an off-day yesterday and a do-or-die game tonight.

    But I don’t agree with your assessment that he “doesn’t care” about winning. I mean, if you look at the rest of the interview, that much is clear. If you look at the passion he’s shown in the field, it’s obvious that he’s playing hard and playing to win. He’s just, you know, calm. Behold another quote from the same interview:

    “We’re just going to go have fun and play the game,” Ramírez said. “That’s it. If we go play hard and the thing doesn’t come like it’s supposed to come, we’ll move on. If it doesn’t happen, good. We’ll come next year and try to do it again.”

    Yo, bro, it’s all good, one way or the other. There’s always next year. You’ve got your yin, dude, and your yang. And, like, sometimes, man, you’ve just got to, you know, chillax. Yeah.

  5. Bottom line? These guys still all get a HUGE check if they win it all or not.

    Actually the true bottom line should be that they all play BASEBALL AND GET PAID FOR IT. It’s nice to win, but it’s also nice not to have to sit & rot in a cubicle for 8 hours a day for the rest of your life.

    The end.

  6. Paul Moro says:

    Well, I didn’t say that he doesn’t care about winning. I said he may not care about winning as much as the fans think he should.

    I often find myself rolling my eyes reading athletes talk about themselves as warriors or soldiers. No, you’re not. You play a game for a living. But I think a lot of fans love guys who talk like that. Which is why Manny’s comments rub some people the wrong way.

  7. Sarah, I definitely admit that my comment was based off of complete frustration at how the team was playing. And even with that, frustration that Manny isn’t looking towards the next game, he’s just looking towards the next season. I would have just liked him to stay focused on the fact that they were (then) two games down and try to figure out how to win the next one to continue on.

    All in all, yes, I do agree that it isn’t the end of the world if the sox don’t make it to the world series. I tend to get a little too into the games and having missed out on the 2004 series, I was hoping that I would get to see this year pan out.

  8. AT, asking Manny to focus on anything aside from the baseball itself (and only when he’s actually inside the batter’s box) may be a bit more than you can rationally ask for.

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