THE SPORTS DOCTOR- Favre fallout: BoSox tell Ramirez who's boss
As I predicted, Brett Favre's miscalculations have effectively ruined sports for big name athletes. By wedging himself under Green Bay's thumb, he has paved the way for professional teams to take their superstars to the woodshed.
Not a moment too soon. Few mega-athletes are as amiable or work as hard as Favre. For one Favre, there are scores of drama queens who need a firm hand.
Case in point: Manny Ramirez. He's a real liability, even for the usually charm-free Red Sox. Rarely have I seen a city as rabidly devoted to a team as Boston is to its Sox. and they don't seem anxious to keep Manny around.
Manny's bi-annual requests for a trade are a tradition, but somehow he seems more determined– more serious, if "serious" can ever be used to accurately describe Manny Ramirez– to make it happen.
Even though he does refer to himself in the third person, Manny was the MVP of the first World Series they won in 86 years. Surely Boston owes him and owes him big.
Poor Manny. He obviously thinks it's still 2006, when a troublemaker and crybaby like Terrell Owens could make a stink all over Philadelphia and still bring the Cowboys crawling to his door. Alas, it's 2008, and thanks to Brett Favre, super-athletes no longer hold all the cards.
I find it ridiculous Manny hasn't been fired for disappearing into the outfield wall during a game and wearing MP3-playing sunglasses, but that's just Manny's being Manny, right? Boston certainly thinks so. Manny is so valuable that the Red Sox forgave his claims that he wanted to play for the Yankees.
They even forgave him for claiming to be too sick to play against the Yankees and flat-out refusing to pinch-hit against Philadelphia.
There isn't enough room to list all of Manny's sins against the Red Sox, but suffice to say Boston must have the most Christian attitude in sports.
Or they used to.
The Red Sox may be turning their plowshare into a sword, at least in regard to Mr. Ramirez.
Granted, Manny wasn't suspended for reportedly throwing Red Sox traveling secretary Jack McCormick to the ground earlier this season. He did have to say he was sorry, though. I'm still waiting to hear if Manny apologizes to Kevin Youkilis for slapping him on the air.
While Boston may turn a blind eye to Manny's physical expressions of dissatisfaction, his repeated refusals to suit up have team management pounding that plowshare.
See, Manny told the Red Sox he wouldn't play against the Yankees last Friday. He just looked at the lineup card and said no, claiming a bum knee.
I reckon it didn't heal when he sat out that game in Seattle last Wednesday.
Manny's refusal to play on Friday night was the straw that broke the camel's back, for them and for management and Manny. The threat of suspension did prompt Manny to suit up on Saturday, but he wasn't finished trying to have his way, as anyone who watched the game could attest.
Uh, why would Ramirez, who's been hitting .487 during an 11-game hitting streak, come up 0-4 on Saturday?
I could guess, but it would be easier for Manny to just tell me.
"If the Red Sox are a better team without Manny Ramirez, they should trade me; I will not object," he said in a telephone interview with ESPNdeportes.com on Sunday.
If slapping his first baseman and knocking down management doesn't get Manny what he wants, maybe throwing a few games will.
My guess is it won't. After many years, the Red Sox have wrung out that permissive washrag in favor of a little discipline and control. I'm sure it's Green Bay's lead that gave Boston the confidence to tell Manny Ramirez who's boss.
It ain't him anymore.