Sometimes, we are so stupid. We, meaning the sports media. We, meaning the gullible knee-jerk knuckleheads who believe everything that is said to them, and who give it more value than it deserves. The latest evidence occurred about week ago when Manny Ramirez told the gathered throng, “Why cares?” when asked what would happen should the Boston Red Sox lose Game 5 of the ALCS to the Cleveland Indians. At the time, the Rouge Sox trailed the Native Americans three-games-to-one, and a loss would mean elimination from baseball’s hollowed postseason.
Here’s the entire quote: “Why should we panic? We’ve got a great team. It doesn’t happen, so who cares? There’s always next year. It’s not like it’s the end of the world.”
For those words, Ramirez was vilified. How could he?!, it was charged by various talking heads and walking fingers. How dare he?!
Please. Ramirez was right. Losing a baseball game was not the end of the world. Not even really close. But those of us who swim is sports every day tend to lose that perspective. We think an athlete must be pained beyond all measure once they lose game, once they are eliminated from the playoffs. Now, let’s be real: Some athletes do feel this pain some losing is cancer-painful and curable only by winning. But to others, it is what it is a game_a game to be respected and revered, one deserving all your all until it is done.
Manny Ramirez is among the latter. And that’s okay. He plays for the joy of playing, and then moves on.
He wanted to win Game 5 as much as any other member of the Boston faithful, and that was proven in Games 5,6, and 7. He is one of the primary reason toe Boson Red Sox are going to the World Series and are likely favored over the Colorado Rockies. He batted .333 in the series and was an instigator of several critical defensive plays. In Game 7, with the Rouge Sox leading 3-1, he played a carom off the Green Monster as if he was Ted Williams reincarnated, turned and pitched a pea to second base and threw out speedy Kenny Lofton, who was trying to stretch his single to a double. The Indians gained consecutive hits after that play and, in all likelihood, he would have scored and the Indians would have tied the score. Different ballgame maybe.
Instead, the Sox are in the Series, and they’re there largely due to Manny being Manny -foolin’ all ya’ll.
Manny’s up-to-date stats: here