What price consistency?

February 22nd, 2007 → 11:09 am @ // 7 Comments

Here’s a lesson I should heed: when trying to cut back on interblogging, jumping into the maelstrom du jour isn’t the best way to go about it. And yet, and yet…I can’t resist one quick comment on February’s annual Mannypalooza.

I’m not going to get into the whole does-Manny-get-a-fair-rap-in-the-media debate, just as I’m not going to get into a Manny-being-Manny or a Manny-as-spoiled-manchild debate. But Keith Foulke’s recent retirement — a retirement scheduled in a way that would assure he wouldn’t collect any of the $5 million he was set to receive from the Indians — reminded me of two other Boston icons: Bobby Orr and Ted Williams. After leaving Boston, Orr played a total of only 26 games over three season for the Chicago Blackhawks. Because he was being paid to play hockey, and because he wasn’t playing, he refused to cash his paychecks.

Williams, who was rightly accused more than once of being a bit of a prima donna, also turned down money he was owed when, after a 1959 season in which he hit .254, he insisted on a pay cut from $125,000 to $90,000.

Manny Ramirez makes $20 million a year. One of the things he is paid to do is come to spring training, and February 27 is the mandatory reporting date; his spokesman, Julian Tavarez, said Manny would be a late arrival due to his mother’s illness, although it has since come out that he’s also scheduled to appear at an antique car show this weekend. Manny, as we all know, is not big fan of rubbing shoulders with the hoi polloi, but by going to said show, he can expect a higher auction price for his ’67 custom Lincoln convertible, a car valued at around $200,000.

Will Manny come back and have his usual .320, 35, 120 season? I’d bet on it. I’ll let you draw conclusions about everything else on your own.

* Edit: Jason Brannon points out that there’s a basketball icon who refused money at the end of his career as well: Larry Bird. Or at least that’s how Brannon remembers it. The story — Bird was a couple of days away from a bonus clause kicking in when he announced his retirement — rings a bell but I can’t find any reference to it online. Anyone?

Post Categories: Manny Ramirez

7 Comments → “What price consistency?”


    12 years ago

    Again we face the question that’s been posed about Manny so many times: why do we put up with it? In his column about Manny the other day, Shaughnessy made this observation: ‘His talent has allowed him to go through life without the rules that apply to the rest of us.’ That’s not an original thought, but it does nail the truth of the situation. On one of the Sox message boards a while back somebody expressed it with a bit more originality. With apologies for the political incorrectness, here goes: ‘This town loves Manny like a fat kid loves chocolate.’ It isn’t just that Manny puts up those huge numbers every year. It’s the sheer thrill of watching some of those hits. Like those opposite-field bombs, the ones where you’re not sure at first if he got it all , then you realize he’s just standing there watching it. It sails ten rows deep into the seats, and as Manny saunters around the bases you can’t help exulting in the fact that he still wears the Sox uniform. For those moments we and Theo and Terry and the rest have put up with a lot. If you want to complain about his antics, you also have to address the questions of a) whether you’d rather see him play for someone else, and b) what you would do personally to change his ways.


  2. Ogie Oglethorpe

    12 years ago

    Clemens used to pull the late arrival to spring training when he was with the Sox too. So did Pedro. People seem to conveniently forget that. Sort of like remembering your old girlfriend and only focussing on the good times. My point being there are a lot of players pulling this type of preferential treatment stunts. Does that make it right? No. Does it make Manny the only one doing it? No. Does this only happen in Boston? No. Do other press corps make it front page news? No. Two more seasons of watching this guy hit. I wish the Fellowship of the Miserable would let us enjoy it.


  3. Shalomar

    12 years ago

    I mean it as a compliment when I say that Manny is an idiot savant. He is devoid of a standard sense of societal rules and accountabilty. He is also the greatest hitter of this generation. And he is incredibly entertaining, because of his foibles and ability to take an inside fastball and rip it into the right center bullpen. As fans, we are not paying his salary, so why do we care if he reports to camp two weeks late if he puts up the numbers and does not disrupt chemistry. The players seem to appreciate him for what he is and I would argue that his unique approach has a positive, calming influence on the clubhouse. Would you rather have a tightly wound, inconsistent, yet hard playing Trot Nixon, or a bizarre, hilarious, run producing, clutch woodsman like Manny? Sox fans should take the latter any day of the week, and I think even curmedgeons like Shaugnessy will miss Manny when he’s gone.


  4. ygbluig

    12 years ago

    “Shaughnessy made this observation: ‘His talent has allowed him to go through life without the rules that apply to the rest of us.’” -Comment by HFXBOB

    Every time Shaughnessy writes something like this, I like to think that the poor schleps at the Globe who type in the school lunch menus, load the delivery trucks or wipe the piss off the floor in the Newsroom’s men’s room are probably saying the same thing about Shaughnessy.

    Of course Manny gets away with things that Doug Mirabelli would even dream of trying, as long as he hits .300, 40, 120, that is. That’s the nature of sports. That’s the nature of the world.

    And so what if Manny’s late for Spring Training. The commissioner’s office doesn’t hand out pennants for punctuality.


  5. MattyT

    12 years ago

    On what was a tough day for Boston sportsfans yesterday losing a consummate team player in Dennis Johnson, we address the anithesis of what DJ represented in Manny Ramirez. Manny is the only player in the history of public figures that draws such a controversial reaction from fans, media, and the like, and he does it without saying a single word.
    The final straw for me was when he refused to even make the trip to Pittsburgh for the All Star Game and tip his cap to the fans for making him the top vote getter. Although he has Hall of Fame Numbers, he has no respect for his teammates, the organization, the fans, and the city. I wish we could have traded him for Tejada, but Peter Angelos is as difficult a personality as Manny. Worse, he wears the number of another All Time great Red Sox player who should be in the Hall of Fame. Maybe when Manny skips town in 2 years we can put DWIGHT EVANS’ number next Fisk, Yaz, Williams, Cronin, and Doerr.


  6. gittespi

    12 years ago

    I do remember an interview with Ron Wolf where he told Bird to “think about it” (meaning retirement) before deciding and Bird responded that he knew about the bonus and would not accept it if he wasn’t playing. I think it’s on Larry Legend.


  7. SJH

    11 years ago

    So, no blog entry today now that Manny’s in camp (early, mind you), and not appearing at any car show or anything like that? And unlike Schilling, he appears to be in tremendous shape. As usual.

    He ain’t changing. And he’s still worth it.


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