|Papelbon/Ramirez – guano|
The popular Red Sox (and sports?) story today is going to be Jonathan Papelbon coming out with both barrels aflame at one Manuel Aristides Ramirez in the April Esquire issue. Thanks to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald, these quotes have hit the press:
Papelbon described Ramirez as a “cancer.”
“It just takes one guy to bring an entire team down, and that’s exactly what was happening,” Papelbon told Esquire. “Once we saw that, we weren’t afraid to get rid of him. It’s like cancer. That’s what he was. Cancer. He had to go. It [stunk], but that was the only scenario that was going to work. That was it for us.”
At one point in the Ramirez rant, Papelbon laid out the problems presented by the enigmatic left fielder, whose highly questionable claims of injury, as well as his altercation with traveling secretary Jack McCormick, led to his trade to the Dodgers at the July 31 deadline last summer. The high-energy Sox closer said that he has no issue with anyone on the team being called out once they’ve crossed the line.
“He was on a different train!” Papelbon said of Ramirez. “And you saw what happened with that. We got rid of him, and we moved on without him. That comes from the manager, and it comes from guys like Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield and David Ortiz. Nobody is ever going to be allowed to do that. Even a guy like me, just heading into my fourth year in the big leagues — if David Ortiz gets a little, you know — I’ll tell him what’s up! I’m not afraid to do that. I’m not afraid to put him in his place, because I think everybody needs that.
“And if somebody does it to me, I understand that. I most certainly understand that. Varitek tells me all the time, ‘Just shut up. Do what you’re supposed to do.’
“So Manny was tough for us. You have somebody like him, you know at any point in the ball game, he can dictate the outcome of the game. And for him not to be on the same page as the rest of the team was a killer, man!”
- Wow. The team has done what it can to be as quiet about the issue as possible (while leaking as much as possible to damage Manny) but this will really fan the flames. My guess is that Papelbon and other teammates were getting irritated by things Manny was saying, such as “I’m in a happy place, where I wanted to be. Actually, I won. I won getting out of there, because I’m in a great place. Sometimes it’s better off to have a two-year deal in a place that you’re going to be happy than have an eight-year deal in a place that you’re going to suffer.”
- Very intrigued to hear that Papelbon has had to put David Ortiz in his place. What could it be for? We know that while Papi loved Manny, he was on board for getting rid of him. Thoughts? Conspiracy theories?
- I have newfound respect for Varitek after this. He’s telling Papelbon to shut up and stay out of the media, and presumably to shut about wanting to set the market for closers. It makes me rethink if Varitek really is a money-grubber that he’s come off due to be represented by Scott Boras. Boras, in fact, noted that Varitek instructed him not to engage any other teams in talks the entire offseason — he was only to talk to the Red Sox.
- Could this be the best “team” in Red Sox history? The country club of the 1950s, the mercurial sluggers of Ted Williams, Jim Rice and Manny Ramirez have dominated the club. This may be the first year where there is no true transcendent player, with players who all know each other and share the same passion for the game. Francona mentioned last year that the post-Manny Red Sox 2008 team was the most fun he had ever had managing. I have to wonder if this is something statistics will never be able to quantify and will be part of the reason the Sox finish in first (yes, I said it).