On Monday current NESN Red Sox commentator and would-be Hall of Famer Jim Rice sat down for a Q & A session with fans in Watertown, New York, as recounted by an article in the “Watertown Daily Times” and despite the fact that the article’s author takes a glowing, hagiographical tone with regards to Rice, and expresses complete bafflement that Rice is not in the Hall of Fame yet, Rice still manages to come across as selfish, delusional, and basically a jackass.

The biggest surprise was when Rice, despite being arguably and employee of the Red Sox, rips Manny Ramirez when apparently asked to comment on Manny’s 500th homer:

“I’m tired of people saying, ‘Manny being Manny,'” Rice said. “It’s not like I’d take my 11-year old kid to go out and watch ‘Manny being Manny,’ that’s not baseball. (Sunday) he hit home run 501, but, even though he hit 501 they still almost lost the game. Did you see those two plays he made out in left field? Now, do you want your kid to be ‘Manny being Manny’ missing those balls?

Apparently in an attempt at subtlety, Rice also took a less direct shot at Manny by discussing how he had the pressure to be a team leader, and just so happening to mention the time he allegedly saved the life of a kid who was struck by a foul ball in 1981.

Other surprising comments from Rice included the assertion that the only reason he is not in the Hall of Fame is because all the writers who saw him play are dead, despite the fact that most people think the only reason Rice has gotten as much support as he has is because the BWAA actually has too many old writers who are looking back through rose-colored nostalgia-tinted glasses.

Rice also claimed that the only people tainted by the steroids scandals are the players who took steroids, that those players alone are to blame for the infiltration of steroids in baseball, and that the game is entirely clean today.

Perhaps most bizarrely of all, Rice ranted that the major leagues today are “too big” and that this means that the quality of play is much lower, and that only a single player on the 2007 world champion Red Sox would *maybe* have made the 1975 squad that lost the World Series to the Reds:

“The only one that would’ve made it, is maybe Papelbon,” Rice said. “Because we had Dick Drago out there, Papelbon has a little more velocity than him.”

Overall, Rice seems to have a massively over-inflated sense of himself and appears to be more than a little out of touch with reality.

14 Responses to “Why Does Jim Rice Hate Manny Ramirez?”

  1. One thing people tend to overlook when a team builds a new stadium is their ad revenue and their luxury suite revenue. This new stadium is generating more income for the Nationals even though the stadium may not be full. Since DC is a city with a corporate presence I would imagine their luxury boxes generate a huge revenue for them. Don’t assume that since the stadium isn’t full that the team’s not making money, of course they would make more if they were at capacity. A new stadium opens revenue streams that often go unnoticed. You should not assume that they can’t increase the payroll unless they are at capacity attendance.

  2. You’re right about possible luxury suite revenue, Melissa. I’ll have to look into that.

    Of course, the real victim here is the taxpayers, who paid for the stadium. The District was supposed to recoup the cost of the stadium through concession sales. That may take longer than expected.

  3. trust me, this team makes plenty of money in ad revenue – I used to work in advertising in the MD/DC/VA region. Even when the teams in that area suck, there is still plenty of money coming in.

  4. and then I realized that that was probably not the point of what you were saying as I only read about half the sentence before jumping in. so brand me retarded commenter today and carry on…

    I do like the Presidents races – that’s a nice little gimmick. the guy at Deadspin ran in it as George Washington. One of the funniest videos. I’ve ever seen. I’d rather pay money to watch the inflatable presidential races than Ryan Zimmerman and crew.

  5. Sorry to have to keep making excuses for Washingtonians, Coley, but here\’s one more: a Metro trip to the Verizon Center to watch playoff basketball/hockey is much easier than taking two train lines to the Navy Yard station to see an early season game to see the lowly Nationals.

    While I agree that the luster of retro-stadiums has worn off, we still have to remember that, before 2005, Washington had been sans baseball for more than a generation. (Sorry, Peter Angelos, Baltimore doesn\’t count.) Therefore, management has always been aware that keeping Nationals fans in the stands requires more than just a new facility. A look at the revamped farm system demonstrates that the money is there, the patience is there, and this team will have the tools to compete in two to three years.

  6. Sarah Green says:

    I do also feel like when the Expos first moved to DC and became the Nats, there was all this excitement in the District about having a baseball team. (“Hey! Our Congressional representatives votes don’t count, but at least we’ve got our own baseball team again!”) But that excitement now seems to have died down. I think it will come back, eventually, if the Nationals can field a competitive team. It will also probably help if the Orioles keep sucking—a lot of Washingtonians got used to rooting for the O’s, but if the O’s are losing and the Nats are winning, they could be wooed.

  7. also, one disadvantage that the Nats have is that the population of DC is by and large a transplant city – so everyone there roots for their home team. there are more Boston, NY and Philly fans there than there are “DC” fans, because there are very few native DCers left in the area. so there’s no hometown loyalty the way there is in other cities. and I would challenge anyone actually born and raised in DC to disagree with me that the city hasn’t been taken over by transplants. (I lived there for 9 years, so I think I know what I’m talking about). Also, sadly, that’s where the disposable income – and luxury box revenue- is – with the Boston and NY fans. everyone’s seen it in Camden – the O’s get a lot of revenue from those teams fans. I think if the Nats were in the American League, this would be a whole different story. as it is, I could see the Nats getting more revenue from Phillies and Mets matchups than anywhere else. but being in the National League still doesn’t help them any.
    then again, there COULD be the advantage that you have people coming in from the midwest or parts of the country that have never had a baseball team to root for, so recruiting fans has its challenges but also advantages. but right now they are basically trying to build a fanbase from the ground up, and trying to recruit fans from other established fanbases, which, in the Northeast, is definitely not an easy task. I think that is the main challenge for getting asses in the seats right now.

  8. …and I think that this is more of the reason than because they are bad…I don’t care how good the Nats get, if I’m from Boston and I move to DC, I’d never switch my allegiance. same with anyone from NY or Philly who moves there. it just doesnt happen, no matter how good the team is.

  9. I agree with much of what you said, Lyndsay, but remember: the Deadskins, er, Redskins are golden here, no matter how pathetic the team does on the gridiron. (By the way, the Super Bowl champion Giants visit the White House tomorrow. Yay!)

    Ten to fifteen years from now, there will probably be more than enough homegrown Nats fans to carry a halfway decent team. That is not to say that there won\’t be plenty of Mets fans like me going to South Capitol Street to watch the games.

  10. Sarah Green says:

    Nick, I think you typed too fast on this one—Let’s take a step back and think a little more deliberately about what Jim Rice said, and the context he was talking in. Also, let’s fact-check a couple of things from this post.

    To start, your statement of “the fact that most people think the only reason Rice has gotten as much support as he has is because the BWAA actually has too many old writers who are looking back through rose-colored nostalgia-tinted glasses” is only true of the people who think Jim Ed has no place in the HOF. Of Rice supporters, most people think the reason he isn’t in the Hall yet is because the BBWAA has too many old writers who hold personal grudges against Jim Rice from the days when he was a player. But I think it’s pretty clear that his statement about all the writers from his era being dead was supposed to be a joke—and a self-deprecating one at that (“Hey, I’m so old!”). In fact, given that he’s described as being “often hilarious” in the Q&A session, I think (but of course, I don’t know) that his comment about only Papelbon making the ’75 team may be a joke as well.

    The only things that don’t read to me like good-natured banter are the steroids accusations and the Manny comments. Clearly, Jim Rice is deeply invested in convincing fans (and perhaps himself) that the steroids scandal is over and that his beloved sport is clean. He betrays a little bit of ornery-old-man bias there, perhaps, as well as in the section where he talks about how he considered himself a team player, not like these spoiled youngsters of today dangnabbit. But I think most fans would also agree that baseball today is different—that many of today’s stars think about me, myself, and I before they think about the team. They think about it when they are considering playing through an injury, when they’re holding out for bigger contracts, even with the kind of pitches they swing at in the batter’s box, if Johnny Damon’s recent comments are to be believed.

    Yet as a player who has had a mixed relationship with the media—from negative coverage when he was the only black player in Boston to today, when he’s actually a member of the media himself—I am surprised that he would make these comments about Manny. I would expect him to have sympathy with Ramirez, since Manny is also a player who has had an up-and-down relationship with the media. But human beings aren’t always perfectly logical. Plus, I think Jim Rice has always been a little sensitive about his defensive skills, since playing left field was something he worked really, really hard at, yet was also an area where his level of play was always disparaged. If I’m Jim Rice, and people are calling Manny Ramirez a first-ballot lock for the Hall of Fame and not criticizing him for making bad mistakes in left field, I could see being maybe a little irritated by the apparent discrepancy.

    I guess I would just say that this was a candid Q&A with fans in Watertown, not a major media interview. It’s not like he prepared these comments as part of his role as NESN post-game analyst, so maybe he was just being completely unguarded. Maybe he said a few things there, in the room, in the context of the conversation, that he wouldn’t have chosen to have plucked out and splashed across the back page of the Boston Herald, say.

    Also, about the boy who was hit with a line drive—it seems clear to me that that came up as part of a question that someone in the audience must have asked about his most memorable moment on the diamond. I think it’s a bit unfair to say he “just so happening to mention the time he allegedly…” etc etc. And I’m also not sure that “allegedly” is really warranted either—though I hadn’t heard of it until recently, I’ve since heard it referenced by many different people, including hearing about a video of the event from Tom Caron on NESN. By saying “allegedly,” you seem to be implying that it didn’t actually happen, which would be incorrect.

    Just one other things—he isn’t “arguably” an employee of the Red Sox. He is technically one, as he is still listed as an instructional batting coach, according to that article.

    I’m interested in his comments, because I’m a Sox fan and a Rice fan (and a Manny fan, for that matter), but to me, this post reads a little too much like the stereotypical blog post that is so often ripped by the mainstream press—taking comments out of context, shooting from the hip, typing first and asking questions later. To me, it feels like “gotcha!” journalism, which is really unexpected coming from cool-headed, analytical, middle-of-the-road Nick.

  11. Mike Augisfat says:

    What you also failed to mentioned was some of the rest of the interview:

    Rice’s most memorable moment on the diamond wasn’t a home run or a spectacular catch in left field. It was being in the right place at the right time and doing the right thing for a boy in the stands on August 7, 1982 at Fenway Park.

    A line-drive off the bat of Red Sox first baseman Dave Stapleton struck 4-year old fan Jonathan Keane in the face during the nationally televised game.

    “His dad was just like, shocked,” Rice said. “Everybody just stood there. I was in the dugout, so I came out and picked the kid up and took him to the clubhouse.”

    After the game, team doctor Arthur Pappas said that Rice could have saved the boy’s life.

    “I got a letter from the kid maybe three years ago,” Rice said. “He graduated from Duke with honors. We have that picture up there in the main lobby of the Red Sox.”

    For Rice, it was second nature to go the extra step that day, to be the hero. But Rice just saw it as a job he had to do.

    “Every day I’d go down to the ballpark and they’d put that “C” on me as captain of the ballclub,” Rice said. “I had to set an example.”

    Do you think Manny will ever remotely say anything

    close to that statement and story? I think not.

    Leave Rice alone and remember, most sportswriters that were around when Rice was breaking bats will

    tell you compared to today’s stars he was a gentleman

    to interview. Eddie Murray was a HORRIBLE person and he got in. Stop abusing Rice for being old school when most of today’s star could not hold his jock.

  12. melissa says:

    After reading the article it seems to me that Nick portrayed it in the correct context. There was nothing to suggest that Rice made the comments about Papelbon and “today’s players” with his tongue in cheek. The remark about sports writers from his era being dead wasn’t presented as a joke but I suppose you could try to justify it as such. Not having witnessed the conversation we don’t know but it’s not as if Nick has taken the quotes out of context. Rice was clearly bashing not only Manny but all current players by saying they play to get into the Hall of Fame and he played for the Red Sox. His remarks did seem self-aggrandizing to me. I do not understand why a former player such as Rice thinks he has to diminish current players on one hand then paint himself as the hero on the other. Rice seems like the bitter old man yelling, “you kids get off my lawn,” when discussing Manny. Isn’t it interesting that Rice is criticizing a guy that should be a first ballot Hall of Famer when he has been denied that honor? I think Nick’s conclusion is warranted and justified based upon the article as I read it.

  13. Sarah Green says:

    I agreed that Rice seemed to have a little bit of ornery old man in him. But I think the Q&A format wasn’t well portrayed in that article. How can readers suss what exactly was happening there without knowing the context of Rice’s quotes? I know The Waterdown Daily Times is hardly the Wall Street Journal, but even so…just taking quotes and slapping them down in black and white is not a great way to show readers what the vibe in the room actually was. We have no idea what the questions were that people asked him. Without knowing that, how can we really judge his answers? What if someone asked him, “Manny Ramirez is a great player, but what would you say his biggest weakness is?” What if someone asked him, “Do you think today’s Little Leaguers should emulate Manny being Manny?” We have no idea. We’re just stuck with a reporter who says that Rice was “gracious and often times hilarious” yet quotes that, in black and white, are neither.

  14. Sarah Green says:

    Hmmm, maybe this explains it. I assumed the Watertown Daily Times was the local rag of Watertown Mass, a suburb of Boston. BUT IT IS, IN FACT, THE DAILY FISHWRAP OF WATERTOWN…..NEW YORK!

    [dun dun duuuuuunnnnnnnnnn!!!!!]

    I know there are a lot of Sox fans tucked away in upstate New York, but it’s still the land of the enemy, by gum. SABOTAGE!

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