Monday, July 28, 2008


So, as I sit in Western Maryland recovering from a physical game against the North Carolina Tigers (we won 106 - 46 to extend our streak to somewhere in the neighborhood of 23 - 1 against USAFL opposition since late in the 2006 season), I am pondering a handful of sports questions, thoughts, and observations...

Starting with the near and dear to my heart...

Manny Ramirez needs to shut-up and play. Like Brett Favre, he's not the general manager, he doesn't make the decisions regarding the team options on the contract. And let's face it, as much of an offensive force Manny has been, his age has begun to show - Sure, he's on pace for 100 RBI's, and that's up from last season's 88, and will probably just about match the 102 he had from two seasons ago, but will be down from his back to back 130 and 144 seasons before that. It's below his career average of 107, though not significantly, although it would be roughly 14 RBI's below his average in a Boston uniform (not including this season).

He's doing that in a line-up that includes Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis and Jacoby Ellsbury who have combined for 199 runs scored. He's doing that in a line-up where he's protected by the likes of Pedroia, Youk, and David Ortiz hitting ahead of him and Mike Lowell (63 RBI's, 13 HR's) and JD Drew (58 RBI's, 19 HR's) hitting behind him. In his career, he's never had to be the guy to carry a team, he's always had protection around him.

How many other places will he go that the line-up forces teams to pitch to him? The Rangers? The Cubs? How many places are already taking themselves out of the running, like the Mets, that just don't want to deal with Manny being Manny?

His agent thinks he can get him four years, $100 million at the end of the year. I think the agent is dreaming if he thinks that he's going to get that much for a slugger that will be 37 at the beginning of May, who has been complaining about his knees for the last couple of years. Sixty to $85 million, I could see, but only the foolish will be investing $25 million in a 41-year old slugger.

Speaking of Favre - boy have I gotten tired of him.

Someone needs to explain the following - he's not the coach. He's not the GM, and the GM's job isn't to try to make sure he gets one last big hurrah at the expense of the future of the team. Ted Thompson's job is to secure the future of the team. Thompson's job is to put the tools around his quarterback to give him the best chance to win.

I seem to remember that in a playoff game in Lambeau last year he had trouble getting the ball to his receivers - even when he had time. He overthrew balls, under threw receivers, and looked uncomfortable - like he didn't want to be there.

Now the Legend wants me to believe that his GM isn't trustworthy because the man failed to out-offer the Patriots for Randy Moss, because he let aging linemen go to put younger, more athletic linemen in front of his aging star, because, while his moves resulted in the team coming within a game of the Super Bowl, that they weren't right because Favre didn't like them.

He needs to stop trying to play this in the court of public opinion. He's losing, and losing bad. Especially coming from a guy that expects everyone to believe that he was just calling the Vikings coaching staff to shoot the breeze. Yeah. Right. And I'm the current owner of the Major League Baseball record for home runs in a single season.

Finally, a few quick thoughts on marketing language - I love marketing language. In an effort to make used cars more marketable, they're no longer "used," they're "certified pre-owned." It's no longer an "impotence" drug, no, now they're for "male enhancement." My personal favorite - you go high end with a "pawn shop," and you have an "antique store."

I bring this up because professional sports leagues are masters at this. They're absolutely brilliant. Consider - the NFL gets television coverage and people paying money for scrimmages. Yeah, they call them pre-season games, but they're scrimmages. But, for my money, the best one out there belongs to baseball.

Baseball, while lagging behind the NFL in ratings, is still the master at repackaging. Consider this - they have managed to convince their fans to shell out hundreds of dollars for even the cheap seats during batting practice the night before the All-Star Game simply by calling it "The Home Run Derby."

That's just admirably brilliant.


Dave said...

I'm ready to see Manny go, even though I do like the way he plays the game...when he plays. But it is tiresome, and he's getting old. He only has a few more homers than Ortiz even though Papi missed all that time. I'd love to get something for him, but who would take him? The team that pops into my head is Arizona, who desperately need a left-fielder that can hit. But what could we get back that would reflect adequate value?

Kevin Smith said...

Honestly, unless Theo is wowed by something out there that I just can't see right now, I think he's with the team until the end of the season.