Jonathan Papelbon gave his opinion on Manny Ramirez in an interview for Esquire magazine, calling his former teammate a “cancer.” Mark Newman wrote a piece for MLB.com basically begging Red Sox fans to get over the Dreadlocked One. Some highlights:
Instead of tipping their caps -- as so many once did after Carlton Fisk bolted for Chicago in switching his 27 to 72 -- some Red Sox fans are continuing to delight in trashing Ramirez, focusing mainly on his "work ethic" while playing for Boston.
None of his teammates was Cal Ripken Jr., but it's not even necessary to go there. The bottom line is: Manny came and they won. Period.
Many people are responsible for the turnaround of Red Sox Nation fortunes in this decade, but none moreso than Manny. Trashing him now just sounds comically bizarre.
In fact, his No. 24 jersey should be retired at Fenway one day. That is how wrong the perspective is, completely and amazingly wrong.
If you dare to interject an opinion as an "outsider" who is not technically part of Red Sox Nation, then you are told that, "You just don't get it." On the contrary, it is time for many Sox fans to hear an outside perspective on how it looks when The Nation is bashing a guy who came and led them to a promised land awaited by generations.
Yes, Ramirez helped lead the Red Sox to two World Series championships. Yes, he was absolutely instrumental in helping break the Curse of the Bambino. But so were players like David Ortiz and Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez. To credit Ramirez to the point of carte blanche for his actions is going a little too far.
Ramirez repeatedly gave up on his team. Before he was dealt, he took MRIs on both knees, both of which came back clean. But Ramirez still didn’t play. If he really were injured, could he have had that second half with Los Angeles? Absolutely not.
There are countless times when Ramirez failed to run out groundballs, once getting clocked at 5.8 seconds to first in 2008. By comparison, the average time to first is about 4.2 seconds, while 3.7 seconds is Ichiro-fast.
If the Red Sox were really such “winners” with Ramirez on board, why not continue holding on to him? It’s GM Theo Epstein’s prerogative to place the best team on the field, and he realized having Ramirez out there (or actually not out there) wasn’t doing it.
Red Sox fans don’t need to forgive. Ramirez needs to apologize.