A lot of talk around Boston recently has been about the current Red Sox and their popularity. TV ratings have been mentioned and some within the local media have argued over how truly committed the region is to the team. More people are watching this year compared to last season, but nothing close to viewership in the past.
What stuck out to me was how popular the Red Sox were before, during and for some time after winning the World Series in 2004. Breaking the curse in 04, the popularity of players like Jonathan Papelbon, Johnny Damon, Pedro Martinez and David Ortiz’s last season were just some of the examples. However what I didn’t hear and honestly I’ve never really heard in Boston, is crediting Manny Ramirez for helping to drive the obsession with the team to an even higher intensity.
For 8 seasons while with the Red Sox he was an All Star for 7. He helped bring 2 World Series Championship’s to Boston, including the “curse” breaking ‘04 championship. He gave us 274 HR’s, had a batting average of .312, made 1232 hits, 868 RBI’s’ and was so confident in his ability to hit that I swear he never swung at the first pitch when up to bat. Yet all I hear around here is how he was a liability as an outfielder, didn’t take the game serious enough and was a “dirty” player.
The lack of appreciation is ridiculous and hypocritical. Did his outfield play ultimately hamper their success? Sure he had fun, but was it ever on the level of “chicken and beer?’ Someone please tell me how Manny making a catch, giving a fan a high five and it all results in a double play, cost the team anything or ruined the season? Why do people hold his suspension for PED’s against him, but catch a bad case of amnesia when it comes to the beloved David Ortiz being busted for the same thing?
Maybe Manny doesn’t get the same type of love as Pedro, Ortiz and others because he wasn’t pleasant with the media, but he deserves a lot more than what he’s getting right now. Manny, I see you. My pockets are kind of thin right now, but if you’re ever back in Boston, I’ll buy you a drink. You earned it.