This is about a day in the life of Manny being Manny and the people who cover his saga in the press.
Manny is Manny Ramirez of the Boston Red Sox and Sunday was one of those days that provided enough press fodder for a month.
At Fenway Park at 4 p.m. for the 8 p.m. start, the first news spreading around Fenway was that Manny had agreed to be traded (he has a no trade clause).
Tracking that story down, one found that Manny had granted a telephone interview to ESPN Deportes, a 24-hour Spanish-language sports network, and was quoted as saying, “If the Red Sox are a better team without Manny Ramirez they should trade me I will not object.”
This new venture into Manny land came after he pulled himself out of the lineup Friday in the series opener against the Yankees for what he said was a bad knee.
No one in the organization seemed to believe that, suspecting Ramirez was upset the Red Sox had not picked up his option for next year or entered into negotiations for a new deal — which Ramirez has also said he desires.
On Sunday, Ramirez said he thought it was tendinitis in the knee and he was not faking an injury. He accused the Sox of trying to make him the “bad guy” in all of the controversy over his contract.
The press then moved on to meet with Sox manager Terry Francona at the daily press conference at 5 o’ clock and he was asked about the reports on Manny.
Taken aback, Francona said, “I can’ t talk about that. I don’ t know anything about it. That’ s the first I’ ve heard of it.”
The press left that conference and went back to the clubhouse to find out if Manny had more to say.
Meeting with the press for a brief couple of minutes, he reiterated that he would be willing to agree to a trade, saying, “I’ m tired of them, they’ re tired of me.”
Then Ramirez seemed to head in the other direction when he said, “Boston is not stupid. They’ re not going to do that [trade me]. They can say whatever they want. But when it comes to make a deal, they’ re not going to pull the trigger, because they know what they’ ve got here.”
Do they ever.
Ramirez went on to say, “I’ m happy, but enough is enough.” When asked what that meant, he said, “You’ ve got to ask Tito [Francona] and John Henry [Boston Red Sox owner], they know.”
Writer Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe then did the e-mail work with Sox executives. Henry said the team had one concern — making the American League playoffs.
GM Theo Epstein said, “We will have no further comment about this situation.”
Manny then enters the game Sunday night and brings the crowd right back to his side with a good defensive play and two doubles, a single, and two RBIs in Boston’ s 9-2 victory, its only win in the three-game series against the Yankees.
The press is then phoning anyone still up Sunday night who works for any team that might want Manny. Few want to talk about it since they have no idea what is going on with Manny and any potential Sox deal with another team.
Welcome to Manny’ s world. The story continues.
There is one thing Manny said Sunday that no one will disagree with. “I could say that right now there’ s a strange atmosphere in our team.”
He didn’ t define that, but most think the initials for the strangeness are M.R.