Be prepared for a bunch of cliches as Boston Red Sox closer Jonathon Papelbon describes Manny Ramirez and the addition of Jason Bay.
From the article:
"It just takes one guy to bring an entire team down, and that's exactly what was happening," Papelbon said, according to the magazine. "Once we saw that, we weren't afraid to get rid of him. It's like cancer. That's what he was. Cancer. He had to go. It [stunk], but that was the only scenario that was going to work. That was it for us."
I'm not sure if cancer is the right word considering what his teammates John Lester and Mike Lowell have gone through, but he decided to use the word cancer. Unlike basketball, baseball is really an individual sport. Sure, you need your teammates to help you out on unimportant stats like RBIs and Runs, but each player goes one-on-one per at bat. Each player controls his area on defense. You control your own greatness. Even if he was moody, there are lots of moody people. Jeff Kent and Barry Bonds were described as moody, and they led the Giants to the World Series. Manny B. Manny was crucial to both Red Sox World Series runs. He must be benign.
On the acquisition of Jason Bay, he says:
"And after, you could feel it in the air in the clubhouse," he said, according to the magazine. "We got Jason Bay -- Johnny Ballgame, plays the game right, plays through broken knees, runs out every ground ball -- and it was like a breath of fresh air, man! Awesome! No question."
Jason Bay does play the game the right way. Look at that career 131 OPS+ or that .375 career OBP. He even posted a 128 OPS+ in a very small sample size with the Red Sox. Manny Ramirez plays the game the righter way. In his half season with the Red Sox he had a 136 OPS+ and has a career OPS+ of 155 and a career .411 OBP.
I'm sure Jason Bay would not play the game with broken knees, but through the silly hyperbole, I get what Papelbon is saying. Jason Bay probably runs out most ground balls. Manny B. Manny probably does not run out most ground balls. I would say most baseball players don't run hard when they know they will be out. Is it wrong? Maybe a little bit because there's always a chance for an error. But if you were to watch the highlights of that dead story from Boston media and picked up by ESPN, you would see a highlight of Manny taking over five seconds to run to first. And then you would see a package of clips where he didn't run that hard. If you were to believe that, then you would think that this dude doesn't try. Looking at that career .411 OBP, I'm thinking the guy knows what he is doing and does it very well.