Coming into tonight, an off-night, the Boston Red Sox were sitting at 61-48 and in second place out in the tough AL East. The Red Sox are 11-13 in the month of July and since the All-Star break, are 4-8 including two series in which they were swept by the MLB's best team, the Los Angeles of Anaheim Angels.
This is all devastating news in the wake of seeing other teams around them only improve. In the last few weeks the New York Yankees have added Demaso Marte, Xavier Nady, Richie Sexson and now Ivan Rodriguez while the Red Sox did nothing. The Angels -- the team that just got done man-handling them at the Fens -- added a power bat at the price of a firstbasemen of the future in Mark Teixiera.
If Red Sox fans across the globe werent a bit worried and disgruntled about the future of the 2008 season for the Red Sox before today, then they are now. On top of being in second place to the Tampa Bay Rays, losing game after game, seeing other teams around them get better and have others like the Twins creeping up behind them in the Wild Card standings, the face of the franchise, the kindred spirit and great clutch hitter of our era Manny Ramirez has been delt to the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he'll suit up for manager Joe Torre who's seen plenty of him, only as an opponent.
Apparently, the Red Sox were fed up with Ramirez; and Ramirez the same with the Red Sox Organization. Then again, this hasnt been old news. Ramirez has been under the collar of the Sox for years now with his on-going series dubbed "Manny Being Manny". The Sox have tolerated and enabled Ramirez, only with the hope that he'd continue to go out every season and hit over .300, 30 HR's and at least 100 RBI's. And for the eight years that he's been in a Red Sox uniform, he's done just that. He's made himself into a Hall of Fame player and has even been an integral part to two World Series winning seasons, something that meant so much to an organization, a city, state and group of die-hard fans from all corners of United States and world.
Why not continue putting up with it? Why not just make him happy? Why not kiss his rear so he'll stick around to lead you to another few rings? All are valid questions with logical answers, but the Red Sox proved to the MLB and their fans they arent capable of thinking logically.
And that's not even because they gave away a few alright players, or that they got someone who will in no way shape or form replace Manny (not that there's anyone out there who could) It's plain and simple: the fact that they literally went through with it is why.
I think I can speak for many Sox fans in saying that I didnt think Theo would do it. I would love to see an interview held with Theo Epstein asking him exactly why he felt it necessary to deal Manny Ramirez. I wonder if he could come up with an answer. And in doing so, one that could be perceived as entirely logical and quite bluntly, sane.
Sanity has to be questioned here mostly because it's obvious to Sox fans and everyone else around the MLB that they arent winning another ring without Manny Ramirez being that gorilla sized shadow behind David Ortiz. Sure, there's Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and a slew of others that can lead the Sox to the post season -- even though that looks a little hazy right now -- but without someone like Manny Ramirez the team is affected in more ways than I can count. The offense is the first thing that will be affected. The lineup will have to be shuffled and guys like J.D. Drew and Mike Lowell will have to step up, but after they get hot and fizzle out there's going to be a glaring hole. A hole the size of David Beckham's bank account that'll suck the intimidation factor right out of the Boston Red Sox. No longer will they have that tag on them that gives them a chance to win every night because they've got the best one-two-punch in the Majors. And it'll start to get awful quiet in the Sox dugout without the character that is Manny Ramirez sitting in there.
As a Sox fan, today is a day I'd like to forget. At 2 PM when I was heading for work ESPN's BottomLine was reporting the three-way deal between the Pirates, Marlins and Red Sox was close to dead, with the Trade Deadline only an hour-and-a-half away. That gave me hope. Hope that Manny could stick around for the remainder of the year, delaying the inevitable blow up and parting ways. Then I get home tonight after work and see the Dodgers had come into the fold. I read Cardsox's blog about it, begin to sulk and decide to quickly kick something out about it for the S.I.F.S. I figured I might as well do it in the S.I.F.S. because if I did in my own blog it'd end up just being the word "F8CK!". I forced myself to make a half-decent and professionally written piece on the developments. It probably wasnt the best idea, as the best way to relieve the anger isnt tucking it down or even talking about it and covering up your real feelings. I punched a hole in my wall the other day after having some computer problems. That seems like a fantastic idea right about now... but I'm all out of LSU posters to cover it up with.
I'll just stick with listening to good 'ol metal with the bass cranked so that all other aspects of mother Earth are drowned out. And any thoughts of the Boston Red Sox, being in second place, Yankees, Rays, Angels, Dodgers, Pirates, no chance of winning another World Series and Manny Ramirez are an after thought and holding second fiddle to the raging riffs of 1980's thrash metal.
So, rejoice Yankee fans. The number 27 just got a bit more feasible. Sit up in your chair and become more confident in the 100-years of not winning might just be over, Cubs fans. Dodgers fans, you might just finish over .500 after all. Go ahead, Major League Baseball, laugh at the Boston Red Sox... and point your fingers and cut jokes at their fans. They just made the biggest mistake since trading Babe Ruth. For the sake of Red Sox Nation, lets just hope another 86-years of drout arent on the horizon.