I submitted this response to Bill Simmons regarding his story defending Manny's actions:
Bill, you've been my favorite sports writer for years and it's actually somewhat ridiculous how much I've agreed with you since I started reading your columns, but you are dead wrong here. Your answer to why Manny did these things before Boras came to town was that he's Manny and that's what we knew we were getting when we signed him.
Well, Cleveland didn't resign him did they? Just because we think we know what we're getting when we sign the guy (and it was Duquette anyway so he didn't have a clue) doesn't mean we can't realize that it's not worth it to watch him take 3 strikes against Rivera to protest basically nothing.
He didn't play when we faced the tough pitchers (your boy Remy even pointed that out citing guys like Kazmir and Chamberlain), he made up an injury (yet again, see basically every single All Star game), and he didn't run out ground balls (even during a no hitter).
It kills me to see how soft you've gotten since you had kids. It's not your fault, I just realize I have to start taking everything you say with a grain of salt because you have lost your edge and your emotions have started to take over. Here are a few of the points that you make that I completely disagree with:
1. You talk about how the organization put him in "no-man's land" by not telling him whether or not we would pick up his option. Well, I'm pretty sure that's what you do when you have veteran players at the end of their contracts. WE did the same thing with Schilling, and that didn't work out, so why not be extra cautious with Manny? I'm pretty sure Manny was the one who wanted the option years in his contract in the first place, don't blame the Red Sox organization for keeping Manny in limbo. It's a business, Bill, and the Red Sox were waiting to see what he was going to give them (and he had some pretty brutal stretches this year). The organization is not to blame for waiting to decide on his future, especially since he wanted the option years in the first place and SIGNED THE CONTRACT.
2. Don't attempt to excuse Manny for pushing the traveling secretary and that's exactly what you're doing by presenting the argument that the Red Sox publicized that too much (and yes I read the footnote, you still are excusing him.)
3. I don't know why everybody has suddenly shifted on this, it was probably the home run he hit last year in the playoffs, but Manny was always known throughout his Sox career as the guy who would homer when the score was 10-0. David Ortiz was the clutch one and now little Papi can't even hit the ball out of the infield because he's still sulking over losing his buddy.
4. You say we signed up for Manny being Manny in 2000, saying we knew he was happy-go-lucky and an oddball, but you fail to recognize what else he did. He sat out for 6 weeks at a time with fake injuries, took called strikes against Rivera in a crucial series this season as a pinch hitter, and refused to play against top pitchers, even when Francona pleaded with him to do so. You can talk about him taking a leak in the Monster all you want, but the things I mentioned are inexcusable, and Red Sox fans did not sign up for this part of Manny. These things are on a much different level, more towards the taking steroids and "disrespecting" the game as well as his teammates and fans. What if you went to the Yankees game and he took those 3 strikes? Wouldn't you feel jipped?
5. Comparing Manny's "funk" to Delgado's and saying they aren't different doesn't excuse him for doing it! They were both wrong! I just don't get how you can justify Manny doing something by saying somebody else did something similar. They were both wrong, Bill.
6. You ask how do we know this season wouldn't have turned around without Manny (citing Delcarmen and Masterson), but I will argue that Manny was killing this team and when he left it was like a weight was lifted from the rest of the team. I know you watched the last few weeks of July. The team was dead. We made 4 errors in one inning. The weight was lifted when Manny was dealt. That was the reason why the trade saved our season.
7. You talk about nobody defending Coco when he charged the mound, yet you refuse to bring up the fact that Manny sat in the dugout while the brawl happened. That's convenient. Remind you of someone else who sulked in the dugout during the 2004 season? Oh yeah, Nomar.
8. Manny had a "sneaky" arm because guys ALWAYS took chances on him and he'd occasionally throw them out. If you get enough chances, you're going to convert occasionally. A blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while. Don't try to tell me he was even an average fielder.
9. I don't understand why you think you should put quotation marks around the word quit. I feel like I've already given you enough evidence where Manny did quit on the team. You can say he put up great numbers, but that doesn't mean he didn't quit in certain situations. Yeah, he's paid to hit homers and drive in runs which he did, but he's also paid to hustle to first, face the top pitchers (your superstars are paid more because they face other team's superstars which Manny refused to do this season), and be in the lineup when he's healthy. He didn't do those things. For every time he had a clutch hit I can name a bunch of times where he either sat out of big games, had big strikeouts, or simply didn't try.
10. Stop acting naive like it's some big revelation that the MLB is all about the money. This isn't breaking news, Bill. As I said before, it's a business. Stop being so emotional about it and realize that we are better off right now than we were on July 30th when we looked like the Pawsox. It shouldn't shock you that baseball is all about the money. It has been for years, and you're sounding like an old timer disgusted with the salaries of players.
11. Let me get out my damn violin for your last 2 paragraphs. News flash: HE'S GONE! Jesus, you'd think a close relative of yours died or something. If Manny goes to the Yankees, I'm going to boo the hell out of him because he'll be a Yankee, just like I booed Johnny Damon. And don't forget Manny is inching closer and closer to 40 years old. Is it that far-fetched to think that he might play his ass off for the final 3 months for the Dodgers, get his final big paycheck from the Yankees, then see his talents sharply diminish? Why do you fear Manny on the Yankees? It isn't that unreasonable to think that he will tail off at the end of his career. Most guys do.
Basically, Bill, you are letting your emotions get in the way of the facts. It was time for Manny to go, just like it was time to Nomar to go. When the Sox win the World Series again this year with Jason Bay, you'll write an article about how you always knew they were better off without Manny this year.
Unfortunately, you don't have a good track record of predicting how your home teams are going to do (see Boston Celtics vs. the Lakers). But when the Sox win it again, please don't act like you saw it coming or that we're better of without Manny. You've said what you had to say.
Manny put up great numbers here, but it came to the point where he was adversely affecting the rest of the team and their performance on the field proved it. Manny being Manny took on a totally different degree and you just can't accept that. I hate to see that you've gotten soft as a writer. Hopefully, for everyone's sake, I'll soon be able to take your job.