"It's rare that you get that type of talent. I mean, boom! Right in the middle of the lineup type of guy, and right-handed for us, that would be a big bonus."-Jerry Manuel
It's funny how the same interview can be spun so many different ways.
The outcry for Manny Ramirez that began last week, and which I've wholeheartedly thrown myself behind continued on Tuesday, as Jerry Manuel chimed in on the matter. There are two such places in particular that reported on this, one on the Mets website, and the other on ESPN.com. If you read one of them without reading the other, you probably think that Manuel has one particular stance. But if you read both of them, you come away thinking that Manuel gave two separate interviews at two different times.
On Mets.com, the Manuel article portrays the Mets Manager as being more interested in helping out at a local Food Bank, helping out the community before he heads down to Florida, ready to do battle with, what he feels, is a team completely in place. Sure, he was asked about Manny, but his response seems to be respectfully passive towards adding a surefire offensive force to a team that mangled far too many opportunities to score some runs. If this is what you read, you'd think that Manuel is happy and confident with what he's got, and he's ready to move forward for the 2009 season. The article appears to focus more on Manuel's dislike for his players participating in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, and that he feels Jose Reyes is ready to emerge as a clubhouse leader.
On ESPN, many of the same points are covered. However, Manuel's comments are spun to read that Manuel would love to have Ramirez on the team, and that he'd be fully in favor of bringing him in.
The ESPN.com article is, I gather, closer to the truth. There's no need to put any particular angle on Manuel's comments if you have no vested interest in the team. The Mets, however, would like to have all of us believe that whoever this Manny Ramirez fellow may be, the Mets won't be getting him and we should pretend he doesn't exist. I've already stated my feelings. If I needed any further backing up on the matter, Bill Simmons' latest article for ESPN The Magazine praises Ramirez as an underrated commodity who's showing no signs of age or slowing down. And this is from a Red Sox fan who should have nothing but scorn and ill will towards Manny.
The handwriting is clearly on the wall, and the outcry from the fans really ought to be getting through, somehow, to the Clown Car that is the Mets upper management. The Mets are SCREAMING for this guy. He's the perfect fit. It's the right situation. Not making this move would be catstrophically dumb. It's the difference between being a nice little contending team that could just as easily finish 3rd as 1st, and being a serious contender to take it all the way to the World Series. So, once again, I wonder: Who's driving this bus, and how serious are they about making their disillusioned fan base believe that they want to build a winner?
Mets' Kitchen open for Business [Mets.com]
Mets Manager Jerry Manuel would welcome Ramirez [ESPN.com]
Bill Simmons: Overrated Overload [ESPN.com]