Sons learn Manny’s bad lessons

Posted Aug. 21, 2008, at 10:20 p.m.

The victims in the Manny Ramirez trade from the Red Sox to the Dodgers weren’t necessarily the Red Sox.

The real victims were Ramirez’s three sons.

What kind of role model is the former Boston slugger?

Because he was upset that the Red Sox weren’t going to pick up his two option years for $20 million each, Manny quit on his teammates, many of whom are his close friends, forcing the Red Sox to trade him to the Dodgers and send enigmatic reliever Craig Hansen and promising outfielder Brandon Moss to Pittsburgh for Pirates power hitter Jason Bay.

Ramirez missed two games with a phantom knee injury, including a 1-0 loss to the Yankees. He loafed to first on a grounder over the third base bag while an opposing pitcher was no-hitting his team. He should have beaten it out.

It reached a point where his teammates told management they thought it was time for their future Hall-of-Fame slugger to leave. They couldn’t trust him any more.

What kind of message does this send?

Hey, kids, if you aren’t happy, don’t give 100 percent. Alienate your friends. Take your glove and go home. Don’t honor your contract or commitment.

A professional sports team is like an extended family. They spend a great deal of time together during the season. And if someone is disruptive or isn’t doing their best, they are letting down the organization and the fans who pay lots of money to support them.

Ramirez put himself first and then declared that the Red Sox organization didn’t deserve a player like him.

Eight years ago, the Red Sox made Ramirez one of baseball’s highest-paid players by giving him an eight-year contract worth $160 million. Even if they didn’t pick up his option years, he was going to make a ton of money elsewhere next year.

The Red Sox brass, manager Terry Francona, and the players had to put up with his antics and answer countless questions pertaining to Manny.

On top of it, Ramirez instigated a fight with teammate Kevin Youkilis in the dugout and, weeks later, he threw traveling secretary Jack McCormick to the ground in an altercation after McCormick told Ramirez it would be difficult to honor his steep game-day ticket (16) request for a game in Houston.

Hey kids, if you don’t like a teammate or a company employee, or if you don’t like something they do or aren’t able to do, instigate a scuffle. Don’t bother to talk it out first or ponder the ramifications of your actions.

We have all done things we regret and wish we could take them back.

But I don’t think Manny Ramirez thinks that way.

His agent reportedly tried to block the trade and said Manny would behave if the Red Sox kept him and didn’t pick up his options. If that’s true, how pathetic is that?

Now Manny’s all smiles with the Dodgers.

If there is justice, the Red Sox will win another World Series and the Dodgers won’t make the playoffs.

That’s unlikely because it is much more difficult to finish first or second in the grueling AL East than it is to win the dreadful NL West.

Manny Ramirez certainly played a pivotal role in Boston’s two World Series championships following an 86-year drought. But you are remembered by your last performance and Manny’s was embarrassing.

Hopefully, Bay will help Red Sox fans forget Ramirez. We at least know he will put his team first.

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