First things first: Manny Ramirez. What the f–k?
I mean, a couple nights ago the guy catches thirteen levels of heck from Yankee Nation for standing around to watch his home run sail into the sky. So last night, after he drubs a Unit offering toward the roof of Crossroads Pub at Mass Ave. and Beacon, what does he do? He drops the bat in a most expeditious manner and motors around the bases like Mo Vaughn on his way to Hotdog and Tugjob night at The Foxy Lady.
I have to ask: Where’s the showmanship? Where’s the torment? Johnson came into this game with the eyes of the world upon him, and a little extra grandstanding might have helped unhinge him for good. I’m talking brass band accompaniment to first, with Manny himself grabbing a trumpet and joining in as he heads to second. Then stopping for a turkey and ham sub somewhere between second and third, and finishing it off with a brief but poignant ventriloquism act for the folks on the third base line, using puppets and elaborate stage effects to tell the story of KoKo, a West Indian youth who is kidnapped by a tribe of cannibals, but later returned when the tribe learns that he can’t magically produce top hats from wheat. Sure, it would have earned him a Unit fastball to the chops, but isn’t that a small price to pay for a victory?
Anyway, it really was just a sickening affair for me from start to finish, highlighted by an absolutely air-sucking performance by The Emancipator. I’ve always been a staunch believer in the “don’t boo your guys” rule, but I will say I took perverse pleasure in hearing the wails rain down on Clement as he shuffled off the field. Dudes, 9 hits and 8 runs — 8 bloody runs! — over 4.1 innings? That’s like showing up at a party with a sack of bull testicles and then having the audacity to drain thirty-six of the host’s brewskis. This morning, I hope he realizes how lucky he is that no one jumped the fence to slap him with a 30-pound cod.
But we can’t lay it all at Clement’s feet. The offense — specifically, anyone not named “Ramirez” — went tits up when we needed it most, with the line-up collectively leaving 19 men on base. Ortiz was the worst offender, and while I still consider him possessor of an “eterna-pass,” the guy doesn’t play the field; all we’re asking is a couple clean belts each game. When he pulls an o-fer, it tends to resonate a bit louder.
Ugliness all around. But I wash it from the memory banks, and look to tonight. To the D-Rays. To Josh Beckett on the hill.