Sunday, October 05, 2008

Manny being Manny, alas

With Jason Bay poised (knock wood) to pick up ALDS MVP honors, most of Red Sox Nation may be feeling pretty good about now re: the Manny Ramirez trade. But while I can hardly knock Bay – nor regret the removal of Craig Hansen from anywhere near the pitching mound, with Sox in the field anyway – I never thought that trade was a good idea.

Neither does ESPN writer Bill Simmons, a Red Sox fan who lives in L.A. He's got a long article at about the resulting turmoil in his soul:
On the day the deal happened, I e-mailed my friend Tony, a die-hard Dodgers fan, and guaranteed him Manny would crush baseballs for six solid weeks. There was no doubt. I saw everything coming before it happened: the "Mah-knee! Mah-knee!" chants, the palpable buzz at Chavez Ravine, the steady stream of line drives and the bombs, amused smiles from teammates, the giddy hop in his step, the "Thanks again for trading Manny!" e-mails from my Yankee friends, the playful joshing with teammates, everything. Now the Dodgers are gunning for their first World Series in 20 years, led by the supposedly washed-up slugger who's only hitting .396 with 17 homers, 53 RBI, a .489 OBP and .743 slugging percentage in Dodger blue. [...] He's back in my life, only not the way I hoped.
The whole article, complete with Fosteresque footnotes and a further dire prediction (take a guess), here.


kvond said...

"52. If I am inclined to suppose that a mouse has come into being by spontaneous generation out of grey rags and dust, I shall do well to examine those rags very closely to see how a mouse may have hidden in them, how it may have got there and so on. But if I am convinced that a mouse cannot come into being from these things, then this investigation will perhaps be superfluous."

Manny's brilliance is the "mouse" come from Bill James statistically confirmable "rags". Dig and dig in them and you will never find the series winning homerun Manny will hit over the Green Monster. Dread the dreads bouncing in the trot.

Duck said...

I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss those stats as (merely) "statistically confirmable": I think they say a lot. OTOH Bay's stats aren't that inferior, and (even with two key homers under his belt in this series alone) here I am claiming that he's no Manny. On that note, here's another quote from the article:

"Last week, Cleveland's Cliff Lee intentionally walked Kevin Youkilis with a runner on second and two outs to pitch to Bay. If Manny had been on deck, every fan sitting in the Monster seats would have needed protective headgear to avoid getting killed by the ensuing line drive."

kvond said...

Duck: "I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss those stats as (merely) "statistically confirmable": I think they say a lot."

They say quite a bit, and are a nice way to do business, but they will never be able to explain just what that feeling in your stomach is if Manny gets to the plate at the wrong time in a game, in a series. The guy has a glow, no doubt about it. And "presence" has a dramatic, narrative effect upon the psychologies of everyone who has seen the body-language performance in the past. No such thing as "clutch"?

J said...

Your b-ball analysis also lacks, d-rabbit: Manny R. couldn't produce for Los Dodgerios when required, apart from what, one measily HR. Maybe a bit mo' crack (or mo' bettah). Send him back to Bean-town.

Will Clark: that was a scholar-athlete.