Sunday, February 05, 2006

StickittodaMannyitis

In the hilarious rock spoof The School of Rock, Jack Black cons a promoter into entering his school band into the 'Battle of the Bands' because they're dying of stick-it-to-da-man-iosis. Who are the Sox trying to con?

Manny won't be confused with an eagle scout, global statesman, or paragon of virtue. I'd guess that most of us Red Sox fans won't be confused with them either. How many of you have ever wished you could tell off your boss, slacked off, or wished that you could be somewhere else doing another job? Probably everyone.

Manny isn't a Gold Glove left-fielder, but he's not the worst the Sox ever had either. I'd take Manny over the Golden Boy, media-friendly Gator any day. In eleven full seasons, Ramirez hit less than 30 homers once, and in his five Boston seasons averaged 40 homers and 122 RBI, including a season in which he played only 120 games. His range factor and fielding percentage are marginally below league averages, and checking www.baseball-reference.com you'll see his Hall of Fame batting and Hall-of-Fame monitor statistics already exceed Hall of Fame average standards.

So, you think he's just a pain-in-the-kiester, and you'd rather have Darin Erstad hit 10 homers with a .700 OPS, because Darin will 'bust it' to first every time. From a productivity standpoint, that isn't ridiculous, it's insane.

So perhaps you need to handle your temperamental superstars a bit differently than your fringe players. Really? The only guys who get away with insubordination are the stars, whether it's in Washington, major corporations, or in professional sports. Is it fair? I doubt that Kevin Youkilis thinks that his career path to date has been fair, but 'The Greek God of Walks' also has eight career homers and forty-four RBI, so he can't complain too loudly.

We're addicted to the Red Sox. I can admit that. I'm not going to get medicated to control it, but let's acknowledge that nothing substitutes for talent in pro sports. Even the best pitching staff in baseball (should the Sox get there someday) is going to need to score some runs. Expecting an infield of Youkilis, Loretta, Gonzalez, and Lowell to be Murderers' Row is preposterous. The offensive expectations center around Ortiz and Manny, and to a lesser extent Varitek, Crisp, and Nixon. Get real. Heal thyself of StickittodaMannyitis.

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