For the record, I just have to say, it is unjust to lambaste Manny for a) that weirdo 390 foot single in Game 5 or for b) not sliding into home plate in the same game.
First, I flew into a rage Friday morning en route to work when I was listening to Boston’s sports radio station, WEEI, and the announcers not only criticized Manny, saying they “hadn’t even noticed it until a Tom Verducci article” that mentioned the non-slide. Then they also slammed a caller who criticized Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. It is hard to overstate the robustness of the Boston radio team’s defense of Buck and McCarver. It was as if they were literally watering at the mouth over how “excellent” they supposedly are. “Excellent.” Yes. They actually used that word. They even said they learned from listening to them!
[Sputter, fume, seethe, sputter.]
But as I was saying:
1. Re: the homer that wasn’t, the eggheads at BP have already said they thought it was a home run. I, for one, accept Cleveland’s crazy-ass ground rules but I still think that any ball that hits “the top” of the wall is “over” the wall and hence ought to be called a “home run.” Nonetheless, I think it’s transparent that Manny wasn’t running hard on that ball because he thought it was caught, not because he assumed it was out. If he’d assumed it was out, he would have stood at the plate with his hands in the air. Yes, he should have made it to second on that play, but it was understandably confusing. If that happens to David Ortiz, I guarantee you nobody mentions it.
2. Re: the slide that wasn’t, what the heck was Manny supposed to do? Kill Victor Martinez to make him drop the ball? Slide the 3.7 miles to home plate? If there’s one person to be blamed for that play, it’s clearly Demarlo Hale, the Red Sox third base coach. Maybe Jacoby Ellsbury can score from second on a shallow liner to right, but Manny Ramirez can’t.
So, yeah. There you have it. The only people who think otherwise are the kind of people who actually learn from Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. Do you want to be that kind of person? Be honest. No, no you don’t.