Shortly after posting the tirade below, my father and I had a conversation about the entire Manny debacle via cell phone that I will attempt to transcribe here.
My Dad: Did you see that people were booing Manny?
Me: (I essentially repeat my tirade)
My Dad: Yeah, well, I think the whole thing with sitting out with Trot gone was pretty over the top even for Manny. And he's been really dogging it in the field. Just the other day he let a popup drop right in front of him. Last night he just didn't make a catch anybody could've made. Not running out ground balls and stuff. There's something more wrong than "Manny being Manny" here. There's a difference between going in the monster and this stuff.
Me: Maybe you're right, but don't you think it might be a vicious cycle? I mean people have been ripping on him in the paper and on the radio all week like he's been taking puppies home from the pound to torture. I mean, that's been over the top too. I mean, someone on the radio saying they don't care if he has 92 RBIs because of what they think they know about a conversation he supposedly had with Terry Francona? Because of some kind of moral indignation? I don't get it.
My Dad: Well, I mean, the guy's just not playing.
Me: How is he not playing? He's still a great hitter. We still need him. I think the whole thing is just a media fabrication--
My Dad: Hey, come on now.
Me: Seriously, where are people getting all this information about Manny? WEEI, right?
My Dad: Well, the paper...
Me: Right, exactly. People are getting this secondhand spin. I mean, yesterday, Dan Shaughnessy wrote a column that said something about Manny probably being received well last night when the team came back home, and that that was proof that "there's no way to insult Red Sox fans." If that's not trying to call people out and make them boo him, I don't know what is. There's a difference between, you know, a column here, a column there, a bit on WEEI and done with it, and that kind of thing.
My Dad: Yeah, I read that. That's true.
Me: And I mean, look at NESN...(repeat NESN rant as documented in another post below)
My Dad: Right, but even Orsillo had something negative to say about Manny.
Me: Right. Something negative to say for about five minutes on one broadcast shortly after this whole incident with Trot happened. But not pounding away at it over and over again and rumors becoming fact and self-fulfilling prophecies.
My Dad: Well, but then you have Theo and Luccino coming out and saying Manny's wanted a trade for four years. I think he's unhappy enough now where he's not going to be around after tomorrow. I mean, these guys are bound ethically and morally not to come out and give you the whole story. You're right we don't know exactly what goes on, that there's two sides to the story, but we're not hearing ownership's side, either. They can't come out and just say "he's a colossal asshole". They phrase it as "Manny being Manny" or whatever it is.
Me: If he's not here after tomorrow I'm going to have to seriously reconsider whether I want any part of this anymore. I mean, we're going to run a guy out of town when the team's struggling enough as it is because of...what? Family values? Some kind of moral indignation? I mean, get rid of a guy because he's a colossal asshole? Millar's a colossal asshole, and he isn't hitting--
My Dad: They'd get rid of Millar in a heartbeat. A heartbeat. No one'll take him.
Me: Okay, bad example. How about, Schilling's thought to be a colossal asshole but the guy's a hero. What do we want? A bunch of choirboys and it doesn't matter if they can play?
My Dad: Hey, now, don't let this shit run you out of baseball. Come on. You said yourself this isn't what it's about.
Me: I know, but when this stuff that it isn't about interferes with what it IS about, which is what's on the field, it really bothers me. I mean, like people having a problem with being working stiffs and Manny making $20 million a year? The media trying to pad their resumes?
My Dad: I know, but that's the way things have been for many, many years. I think the media lost their objectivity a long time ago, and, you know, it is what it is. And if everything was otherwise okay with Manny, him making $20 million wouldn't matter. But there are reasons for it you're never gonna know, and in the end it could work out to be the best thing, like Nomar.
Me: You're right, but it just irks me that it's not about his performance, really, it's all this interpersonal stuff that, as you said, we have no way of knowing. If it was an Embree type of situation, it would make sense.
My Dad: Well, but like I said, it is in some ways about his performance. The fans don't need WEEI to show them him dogging it out in the field.
Me: Maybe that's true, and I haven't really paid that much attention to it, but that's nothing new. He's always been an occasional slouch with the glove? What's changed?
My Dad: That's the thing. We don't really know.
We didn't really reach much of a conclusion, but it made me feel a lot better. My Dad is such an eminently rational, well-reasoned person. I love him and admire him so much.