Saturday, August 09, 2008

Back in the Saddle

Why the eight-day hiatus? Let's just say I can't quite socialize the way I used to. Spent last weekend in the hinterlands of Maine with a couple pals and it honestly took till mid-week to start to feel somewhat normal. Getting old sucks.

Lots of things to catch up on so here's a mish-mash:

- Manny Ramirez and Jason Bay have settled in on their respective coasts, and each are doing very well. Manny's been absolutely scalding the ball - funny, haven't seen many defensive highlights - and Bay's been impressive with the stick and with the glove. Manny has gone 13 for 28 so far with 4 homers, 9 RBI's and 7 runs scored, while Bay has gone 12 for 30, with 1 homer, 6 RBI's and 10 runs scored. Interesting to see a little sidebar in today's Globe with the headline "Hansen has Moss to thank for first save." Anything to get people around here up in arms - which admittedly isn't difficult to do.

- Sticking with Manny, I've had more than a week to digest this whole thing and what I keep coming back to is that what he did to his team, to us fans, and to the guys who sign his paychecks is unforgivable. I'm not one to make bold statements, but Manny's quitting attitude during his final days in Boston was a large middle-finger salute to the integrity of the game. In fact, the Globe reported this week that MLB has some people poking around the matter of Manny's last days, to see if there is any evidence of intentional tanking. In the end, of course, we'll never get all the answers. Somebody in the local press will attempt to do a Will McDonough-esque piece breaking it all down, but it will be partly speculation. We'll never know if the ownership group kept telling Manny one thing and doing another. We'll never know how many more Youkilis/McCormick moments Manny may have had over the last seven years. We'll never know what Scott Boras did or didn't tell Manny to do as part of his overall strategery to break away from the two one-year options, which only months ago seemed to favor the Sox but in the end turned out to be leg shackles. What we do know is that Manny dogged it one too many times, and his quit this time was perceived by many to be an insult aimed directly at the owner's box. It was personal this time around. One last thing - we fans have a part in all of this too. We - along with the owners and his teammates - looked the other way with Manny because of his bat and because he played a major role in helping to erase 86 years of sheer torture and misery. In the end, maybe Manny thought his behavior was okay, because it's been permitted for so long.

- Next in the crosshairs: Brett Favre and the Packers. What an utter mess. I have to agree with Mike Golic, who this week on ESPN strongly questioned why the Packers wouldn't want to have Favre as their starter in the first place. Yes, the guy threw an abysmal interception to end their season last year, and he's only won one Super Bowl. But does he not make your team better when he's in there? That's really the only question. You can bring up Manny as an example - he obviously makes the Sox better - but his flaws were deeper than we knew. From everything I've seen, read and heard, and there has been a lot, his teammates still respect Favre. Seems like Packers GM Ted Thompson is the loser in all this. GM Rule No. 1 - never get into a pissing match with a beloved legend. Now Favre's with the Jets, which should make for some fun twice a year against the Pats.

- Hey, did you know the PGA Championship - golf's fourth major - was taking place this weekend? Me neither. Amazing the impact Tiger has.

- I was kind of hoping the Pats might get a crack at released QB Chad Pennington, though I knew he'd obviously be more interested in playing every Sunday. He'll be a good backup QB to have around some day.

- Hey, did you know the Olympics started yesterday? Me neither. No, I'm kidding - I caught some of the opening ceremony last night and it was truly spectacular. I'll most likely try to tune in for men's hoops, and swimming and diving. I've always liked the pool events for some reason. Weird but true fact about your humble blogger servant.

- I didn't watch one snap of the Pats' first exhibition game the other night against the Ravens, but I did hear from many that rookie LB Jerod Mayo - the team's first round pick - was very impressive. And that Tom Brady's Backups were very unimpressive. Talk to me after the third exhibition game.

- Try as they might, the Red Sox just can't seem to chip into the Rays' division lead. Entering today's games, they're 3 1/2 back and some eyes have turned to the wild card standings, which have the Sox ahead of the Twins by a game and a half. I still believe that the Sox win the AL East, the Rays win the wild card, and the Yankees don't make the playoffs, especially with Joba Chamberlain's injury.

- Dice-K needs to come through tonight with a good performance against a good team. The Sox lost 5-3 to the White Sox last night.

- Ozzie Guillen makes for good TV. The guys wears his emotions on his sleeve, and it's particularly entertaining to watch him while his bullpen is in the process of imploding. If you had a split-screen on TV, he'd go from a frown, to taking his hat off and rubbing his forehead, to throwing his arms up and cussing, to barking at his pitching coach to get on the phone. The man is animated.

- And that's all I have for you at the moment. Thanks for listening. Go forth and prosper on this fine Saturday.

masterK what team was on your SI mag...we had U F ??
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