YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Boston won't give up its obsession over Manny Ramirez

Though most fans in Beantown are glad he's gone, they still can't help but spout their opinions. Even players, such as Jonathan Papelbon, are having trouble letting it go.

March 15, 2009|T.J. SIMERS

I have a problem with crazy people.

I'll get to Lakers fans in a minute, but I begin with the bitter no-lifers who call Boston home.

When Manny Ramirez reported for Dodgers duty he tried to explain to us why he was so happy to be out of there.

He said he was "suffocating" in Boston, the city and everyone in it relentless in their over-the-top devotion to things that really don't matter. I'd rather read a Dwyre tennis column than anything written by Boston's ponderous and self-important sports columnists.

And just imagine living in a place where everyone talks funny and all they want to do is talk, talk, talk about what they think.

Around L.A. we didn't much care what happened in Boston, but while Manny began to fit in here, the bitter no-lifers back there handled the divorce the way they do most everything else.

They obsessed. And they continue to obsess.

"Manny Ramirez is a despicable human being," writes Bob A in an e-mail, the obscenities deleted here although that is the way they talk in Boston. "This is a guy who quit on his last team and acted like a complete (bad guy) to get out of town. And you applaud his goofiness. You might just be a bigger (bad guy) than he is."

I'm not saying the bitter no-lifers in Boston aren't perceptive.

"When will Manny stop talking to the press?" wrote Edward Kozial from Agawam, MA, and no, no -- there goes Page 2. "When will Manny stop supporting community projects?"

Manny just donated $1 million to the Dodgers Dream Foundation, and knowing the McCourts, they're going to get their money before it ever gets into Manny's pocket, so he will be supporting community projects all season long.

"Don't get duped by this guy: he is a selfish, greedy lout who doesn't honor any promises," wrote Pete Guglietta. "But hey, he's your problem now."

So how come it still feels as if it's a Boston problem? The Red Sox were favored to win it all last year but are now trying to convince everyone they were better off without him, while failing to make it to the World Series.

The Dodgers had no business getting as close to the World Series as they did, and did only because of Manny.

Boston pitcher Jonathan Papelbon, preparing for this season, is still stuck on last year. It certainly doesn't make him any different from most bitter Red Sox fans.

He refers to Manny as "cancer" in an upcoming issue of Esquire, while suggesting Jason Bay was the cure to what ailed the team. Obviously, Papelbon is no baseball expert -- Bay only 378 home runs shy of catching Ramirez.

" . . . It's like cancer," Papelbon said. "That's what he was. Cancer. He had to go. . . . That was the only scenario that was going to work. That was it for us. And after, you could feel it in the air in the clubhouse. 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."

Then Papelbon went on to demonstrate he's no different from everyone else in Boston -- losing all perspective.

"It takes 25 guys on a team to win, not 24, and that was blatantly obvious," he told a Boston newspaper. " . . . if you're not in that same cubbyhole with the rest of the guys going to war with you, you're all going to die. That almost happened."

War? Die? What are these people going to do this June when the Lakers win the NBA title?

How good is Manny? No one in Boston can seemingly move on without mentioning him.

It's as if they live their miserable lives tortured, hoping for the very worst for Manny so they can feel better about themselves. And they can't wait to rub the noses of everyone in L.A. into Manny's mess.

The problem so far, there is no mess, only bliss. The best someone could come up with was this from "First time Torre says Manny will be in the lineup, Manny got a sore hammy. Get used to it, suck up."

Or as staff writer Steve Silva began his story: "Is Manny's hammy acting up already?"

The steady stream of e-mail and rancor from Boston since last July suggests there are a lot of bitter people hunkered down in front of their computers still watching Manny's every move, or just trying to see what life is like now for Curt Schilling.

Funny, but it seems the only guy who has his act together is the big goof now playing for the Dodgers.

He walks twice in his first spring appearance, adds a single and tells reporters, "A single. I'm Ichiro. They pay me $25 million for a base hit? That's not a good investment."

As good a hitter as he is, he spends most of his time poking fun at himself. The guy hasn't taken himself seriously from the day he arrived, playing a game as if it really is a game, the perfect fit here in the entertainment capital.

I worry, though, we may have too many Lakers fans living among us now.

Last week we had people in L.A. freaking out, a reminder of what life must be like all the time in Boston. Instead of enjoying this Lakers joy ride, we had fans dwelling on what's going to go wrong.

The Lakers went on the road, began with a loss in Portland, and that was it. Season over. They weren't going to have home-court advantage, can't play defense, and did you know Phil Jackson has lost the last six road games he has worked in the NBA Finals?

I didn't either, but that's what one crazed Lakers fan, who always sees the sky falling, fired back when I suggested other teams had a whole lot more to worry about than the Lakers.

We've got to be careful around here before we become Boston. As if we really needed any reminder from Manny, nothing worse than that.


Los Angeles Times Articles