These days, you won't hear much grumbling about the absence of Manny Ramirez. Everyone was fed up with his attitude and antics, but their were many skeptics wondering what the Boston lineup would be able to accomplish without their star hitter.
The emergence of Jason Bay as a more than capable replacement in left field and in the batting order has silenced many of those skeptics. The production of first baseman Kevin Youkilis should quiet the rest (unless you're David Ortiz).
Through 26 games, the two have put up very comparable numbers. Bay even bests Ramirez in many categories, including runs scored, doubles, triples, runs batted in, walks, and stolen bases. He also keeps his attitude in line, acts like a mature adult, patrols left field with incredible ability and accuracy, and most importantly, he wants to be here.
Bay is a far cry from what Boston once had to deal with. The worst part about him is that he's in his prime and is not signed long term. That hasn't been a source of drama and concern, though. He's expressed definite interest in returning and wants to put contract talk aside and just play baseball.
I'll take an incredibly productive player and all around solid person any day over the likes of Manny Ramirez. I don't think we have to worry about Bay quitting on his team or physically assaulting a 60-year-old traveling secretary.