August 7, 2008

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LONGSHOTS: Manny happy returns from the Evil Empire
by Dave Long

It’s my annual summer visit to the Evil Empire and as usual a HUGE story hit the streets while I’m here. One time it was the death of Ted Williams, which was a huge story — one treated much more reverently in New York than the Boston papers treated the death a few years earlier of his rival Joe DiMaggio. I saw that as a sign of New York’s respect for the great Williams. The story of his being cryogenically frozen by his children also broke while I was here. As did the tale of New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey coming out of the closet after getting caught giving his young protégé/paramour a job he was thoroughly unqualified for.

This time it was the trade of Manny Ramirez. The Daily News put his picture on the front and back page, and had SIX stories about the saga. That’s more than the Globe did. The Post, if you can believe it, was more restrained with three. And it was all WFAN-The Fan talked about. And while, in saying it was a bad move because of the production the Sox would lose, the radio guys were clueless about it, all the newspaper columnists pretty much got it.

But it wasn’t the only story swirling around the Big Apple. So here’s my annual communiqué from behind enemy lines about what’s happening as it relates to the teams back home:

All those who just hate Yankee announcer John Sterling for his obnoxious “The Yaaannkeees win, the Yaaannnkees WIN!” chant will get a kick out of his being pulled over by the cops while doing a radio interview for talking on a cell phone while driving. That’s against the the law down here. To which Chip (Harry) Malafronte countered in the New Haven Register, “Interview over! Spotless driving record over! Troopers win! Theeeeeee troopers win!” (“‘Shark’ tries to sink teeth into win for the ages,” July 20, www.nhregister.com).

Pedro Martinez was in the news after pitching Friday for the first time in three weeks, thanks to injury and the passing of his father. He lasted only five innings in a 7-3 loss to Houston. The most stunning thing about the box was seeing the once great Pedro has an ERA of SIX POINT ONE SIX! That’s 6.16 to those outside New England.

If you aren’t over the Patriots’ losing the Super Bowl, the story about David Tyree on the PUP list won’t make you feel any better. It seems he had a shoulder so damaged when he made the catch of all catches in the final drive, it required surgery extensive enough to keep him out of the field until at least opening day.

The Manny soap opera was not the only one the Empire was involved with on the periphery. It passed the one-week mark in the Brett Favre drama, where most I talked to feel that adding him to other off-season moves by the Jets and the drafting of physical specimen pass rusher Vernon Gholston will close the gap considerably between the Pats and J-E-T-S Jets, Jets, Jets — although confidence comes and goes, as evidenced by a Daily News headline that said “Jets Favre from Out” (Aug. 1) and Newsday’s “Favre status a tired question to Jets Mangini” (Aug. 1).

The Yankees held Old Timers Day for the last time in the real Yankee Stadium. Sox alum David Wells was one of the Yankee pitchers — even though I didn’t even know he was retired.

But in the end Manny was still the big story, where, as I said, the columnists got it right for the most part.

The region was positively giddy about his leaving Boston, both because it took a Yankee Killer (a term used over and over, thanks to Manny’s hitting 55 homers in 200 games against them over the years) and because L.A. was the last-minute substitute for Florida, which means Manny will have no impact on the NL East race, where the Mets (who got slammed for doing nothing at the trade deadline) are locked in a tight three-way battle for the lead with the Phillies and Marlins.

Joel Sherman in the Post cautioned all not to get carried away too soon, by reminding what happened a year ago, when fans were doom and gloom when the Sox beat out the Yanks for Eric Gagne. In desperation they turned to Joba (the Hut) Chamberlain, who was a revelation, while the Sox went on to win it all despite Gagne, who was a complete bust.

Sherman also showed that bitterness over Spygate still lingers down here. In comparing Manny’s lack of integrity to Bill Belichick’s, Sherman said, “At least Belichick —despicable as he is — was cheating to try to win.” (“Money in the Tank,” Aug. 3, New York Post).

Bishop Guertin alum Mike Lupica liked the irony of the Yankee killer now playing for Joe Torre, since Torre was in the opposing dugout when Manny and company came back from down 3-0 on his Yanks in 2004. He also had the best line on the A-Rod/Madonna saga in saying that given the age difference she should have just adopted him.

Bill Madden of the Daily News was most on target, though, in fingering Scott Boras as the guy behind Manny’s strange behavior. Boras, as his new agent, wouldn’t get a dime if Boston’s $20 million option were exercised. So he got Manny out of that, by telling him the whopper that he was going to get him a deal worth $100 million this winter. To which Madden wrote, “How regrettable for baseball, however, that the biggest winner of all turned out to be Scott Boras, for all the wrong reasons.” Although I thought his best line was “It was despicable conduct, all of it, but then what else would you expect from Boras and a willing lap dog in the name of greed?” (“Scott Boras, clients the real winners at MLB trade deadline,” July 31, Daily News).

If I’m Theo, I’d remember how this skunk messed with the season and do what Hank Steinbrenner did last winter in A-Rod contract talks by refusing to deal with Boras. Theo should do the same, which would be bad news for Jason Varitek this winter and Jason (sitting on the dock of the) Bay next as both are Boras clients.

One final word about Boras — I don’t know what kind of drugs Manny and he are on, thinking he’ll get $100 million. This will COST Manny. If he’d kept his mouth shut and just hit for the next two years, he’d have had $40 million, plus another two-year deal for around another $20 million when he was 39. But at 37 the best an aging slugger, who’ll hit 30 and drive in 95, will get is MAYBE a three-year deal worth MAYBE $15 million per. That’s $45 million at best vs. $60 million. And I bet it’s less — which makes this a move from the Nomar Garciaparra School of Negotiation.

Of course, it’s now forget the Cubs, as I’m hoping for L.A.-Boston in the series.

Dave Long can be reached at dlong@hippopress.com. He hosts the Absolute Sports Experience at Billy’s Sports Bar in Manchester each Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon that is broadcast live on WGAM – The Game, 1250-AM Manchester, 900-AM Nashua.


7/31/2008 Manny being Manny - the sequel Part XXXII

7/24/2008 Open the mail bag for some Red Sox questions
7/17/2008 Hall-worthy or not the latest question on Schilling
7/10/2008 Baseball season has actually started
7/03/2008 UL editorial in denial — stop the presses
6/26/2008 Boston turnaround makes NBA green with envy
6/19/2008 Letters from the NBA finals
6/12/2008 A Father's Day letter to dad
6/5/2008 Twenty-one and six are the lucky numbers for the Cs
5/29/2008 Sometimes a bat is just a bat
5/22/2008 Some questions for folks right up there in the front row
5/15/2008 Numbers don't add up to supposed Fenway
5/8/2008 Cavalier attitude nearly derails first meeting with LeBron
5/1/2008 I'm so old,I remember ...
4/24/2008 Sox Line-ups, Celtics and ESPN investigations are in the mail bag
4/17/2008 Show me the way to that All-Star Game
4/10/2008 For C'ing a great time ahead as playoffs arrive this spring
4/3/2008 Bill James and the stats for 2008 — Take Two
3/27/2008 Drowning in the NCAA office pool
3/20/2008 Whether forecast is right or not is the question
3/13/2008 Comment sparks wonder over just what I did
3/6/2008 New hires, new trades in pro sports
2/28/2008 Celtics issues far from black and white in the early days
2/21/2008 Congressional ineptitude muscles in on steroid hearings
2/14/2008 Basketball rounds into form under the cover of Pats football
2/7/2008 A giant win leaves Patriots fans feeling blue
1/31/2008 Foxboro lads earn pats on the back, and old Celtics mystique makes sense
1/24/2008 Mail bag asks about Rice, the hall and wild-eyed liberals
1/17/2008 Peyton manning the fort back home as Pats take on Chargers
1/10/2008 Grumpy old Dolphins are lost at sea on this one
1/3/2008 The primary concern is getting a clear picture
12/27/2007 The annual sports awards close out 2007
12/20/2007 Holiday gifts for the deserving and not so deserving
12/13/2007 Jets land in Foxboro as pat go number 14
12/06/2007 To include or not to include Ellsbury — that is the questione
11/29/2007 Yanked from the sports pages in the Big Apple
11/22/2007 Here's what I'm thankful for at Thanksgiving
11/15/2007 Waiting game leads to a series of random thoughts
11/8/2007 OK — it's week nine and I'm ready to talk
11/1/2007 Finally a little shut-eye for a sleep deprived nation
10/25/2007 A rocky mountain high for Red Sox Nation
10/18/2007 Time to go to the mailbag
10/112007 Who'd more popular, Patriots or Red Sox
10/4/2007 IA weekend chock full of nuts, chokes and great moments
9/27/2007 I hate to say I told you so...
9/20/2007 Media and fan bias shades the severity of sports crime
9/13/2007 All round baseball week starts with a look at leaders
9/6/2007 It's Superbowl or bust for Pats in 2007
8/30/2007 The race is on as baseball enters September
8/23/2007 Spine vs. lack of spine theme for school board debate
8/16/2007 Time for thoughts from the summer mailbag
8/9/2007 Will this three make it big in Boston?
8/2/2007 Trading places all in a day's work for Boston GMs
7/26/2007 Getting out of a slump; an ameteur golfer can feel Sox' pain
7/19/2007 Does second chance guarantee a great outcome?
7/12/2007 Masse still a honeymooner in local baseball culture
7/5/2007 Brown Monster a big Fisher Cat hit
6/28/2007 Rambling along with some random thoughts
6/21/2007 The future is now for the C's come Thursday night
6/14/2007 Homers create bonds among fans for generations
6/07/2007 Sox win by losing two of three this weekend
5/31/2007 Lutz of things to think about
5/24/2007 Down 2-0 M’s for playoff payoff
5/17/2007 Baseballs' conventional wisdom is for the birds
5/10/2007 The Rocket lands in Gotham during Monarchs' playoff break
5/3/2007 Raiders say "No Moss" in fight with talented wideout
4/26/2007 A little history on the ancient Sox and Yanks rivalry
4/19/2007 Lessons to be learned from Robinson, Monarchs and I-Man
4/12/2007 A few questions for the sports gods
4/5/2007 Stanton his case on a variety of current topics
3/29/2007 Sox spring back into action on Monday
3/22/2007 A guide for having fun on NCAA hockey weekend
3/15/2007 The madness of March kicks off on Thursday
3/8/2007 Jumping through hoops after an odd season
3/1/2007 A trip to the mail bag for Hippo Sports
2/22/2007 Six degrees of Muhammed Ali
2/15/2007 Monarchs rule as streak reaches 12
2/8/2007 Talking a good game ahead on all-sports WGAM
2/1/2007 Manning the Super Bowl watch more difficult in '07
1/25/2007 Winning and what else matters in college coaching
1/18/2007 ESPN polls are fanning the flames of national lunacy
1/11/2007 Patriots marching to MIami promised land
1/4/2007 Predictions for 2007
12/28/2006 REcognizing the best on the national front
12/21/2006 Present under the tree for all
12/14/2006 Mailbag open for busines at a time filled with questions
12/07/2006 Lions and Gators and Bears, oh my
11/30/2006 Does Fenway frankness roll to the negative side?
11/23/2006 Turkeys and thanks as the big day arrives
11/16/2006 Green-around-the-gills Celts looking to earn some respect
11/9/2006 Blame game reaches new local low
11/2/2006 A week of highs and lows in sport
10/26/2006 Curses! The U is foiled again
10/19/2006 Time for a trip to the sports mailbag
10/12/2006 U turns Granite Stare around on football
10/05/2006 James' gang riding into town to face the Celtics
09/28/2006 Words to describe a lost Red Sox season
09/21/2006 Football Friday can't stack up to Saturday
09/14/2006 A lesson to be learned in remembering a somber day
09/07/2006 Usual pat choice to win AFC East questioned
08/31/2006 Whining won't yank AL East away from NY
08/24/2006 Spring forward or fall behind for Sox
08/17/2006 Trash talking abounds in the Empire over Sox and Pats
08/10/2006 Monarchs call press conference to crown new leader
08/03/2006 Deadly Fenway duo leave mark on history
07/27/2006 Word of the wise gets lost in sports translation
07/20/2006 Looking beyond the Big Three
07/13/2006 Cream rises to the top of baseball talk at the Dot
07/06/2006 Greetings and salutations toThe Nation at mid-year
06/29/2006 Being dealt is a consequence of the trade
06/22/2006 A year later, Boudreau's cup runneth over
06/15/2006 See dogs and cats battle for a different fan experience
06/08/2006 Not Bad Anymore league makes a comeback
06/01/2006 Luck goes Sox way with Lowell in Massachusetts
05/25/2006 Pitching in to help the Sox trade a few places
05/18/2006 Going to school by cutting Red Sox payroll
05/11/2006 Columnist blows his mind; here are the results
05/04/2006 Yanks stormed Manchester 37 years ago this week
04/27/2006 Regular crowd nowhere to be found come playoff time
04/20/2006 Questions and answers from the mailbag
04/13/2006 Local sports teams spring into action
04/06/2006 Predictable Red Sox season lies ahead
03/30/2006 Analyzing this and that as Pats roster shrinks
03/23/2006 A week of following the bouncing balls
03/16/2006 The beginning of four days of basketball bliss
03/09/2006 Many miss the central point of the story
03/02/2006 Better late than never to jump through local hoops
02/23/2006 Celtic green means raw, not envy as it once did

02/16/2003 An issue that is all black and white
02/09/2006 Nomar curses from the UL's Sullivan
02/02/2006 Super memories from 40 years of watching the big game
01/26/2006 A certain uniformity to the inquiries in the mailbag
01/19/2006 Sudden end to Pats' season leave just one thing to do
01/12/2006 Pats on the back for the football team
01/05/2006 Predictions for Manchester Sports 2031
A lesson for Leo the Lip and nice guys everywhere

Chop House opening is Berra of good news
Event-filled weekend missed en route to evil empire
Hero’s death lays to rest misuse of the word
Saint Theo ascends to new heights in The Nation
Santa sack filled to the brim with sports
Patriots march through injuries toward threepeat
Sports talk should be on the air
Stars shine brightest when winning is in the mix
The Demonization of Johnny Damon

Thirty-seven topics and so little space
Too many holes in Sox for repeat
Trip to the injured list makes it a long weekend for local scribe
Turkeys and giving thanks take center stage this week
Yanked from the edge of your seat