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One Life to Live

OK, let me get this straight: The Sox trade Manny, win 3 in a row, and now it's all  been to the mountaintop and it's all milk and honey from here on out?


Colah me skeptical.


C'mon, dude. Lighten up and let go of the bittahness. What's done is done, let's move into the post-Manny era with a sense of optimism.


Seriously. We couldn't live with Manny anymore so now we live without him. Simple, really.


And the results speak for themselves.


I dunno, I think I need to take a break from the Red Sox, get some distance, you know? I mean these days baseball is but one of several entertainment choices.


And really, if the Red Sox always devolve into a tawdry soap opera, why not just tune into the new 90210 and leave it at that?


It's like that old saying about hockey and fighting, but instead it's "I was at a soap opera and a friggin' Red Sox game broke out."


You'd think you'd be more easy going after a weeks vacation. What happened, you're stash of skunk run low or something?


All I want to know is why, why, why does the Red Sox pahting with their supahstah playahs always have do be so acrimonious?


Look this isn't something new. It goes all the way back to Babe Ruth fercrissakes!


Then you've got the more recent litany of begrudging going back to Fisk, Hurst, Clemens, Vaughn, Nomah, Petey, Damon … Ridiculous. I've seen smoothah breakups among lesbian bikahs cranked on meth.


Well, it's not like this is unique to the Red Sox, I mean just look at the Packahs and Favre. Talk about your inimical break ups.


But go ahead and take your little sabbatical. The Sox will be in first place when you return.



Dear Diary,

I can't believe I am writing all this down, but I met a new fella over the weekend. His name is Jason. I didn't catch his last name, but somebody mentioned his last name is Notmanny, from the Pittsburgh Notmanny's, which seems like a good family.

He seems nice, and doesn't let other guys get to second base. But he gets on base all the time and even got to home base a few times over the weekend. That was fun. His number is Not24, and he didn't have to pay Curt Schilling any money (charitable donation) to get his old number.

My old flame, whose name was Manuel, left town all of a sudden to go to the West Coast--Los Angeles, I think. It was kind of hard to take the news, and he didn't even text me before he left town. But, that's guys for you. I'll miss him, but even though he was good for me for a long time, his heart wasn't in it at the end. I've already gotten over him, although I wish he didn't look like he was having so much fun with the cool blue do rag he got at the airport on Friday.

Oh well.

I got to go back to the place where we used to hang out on Sunday. Everyone seemed happier and looser and I had a good time. When Jonny P fist-punched the fat cop and ran in from the outfield, I knew that things were gonna be just like before.

Even the rain didn't bother me, although the rain-delay video featuring Jonny P. and The Real Manny in dreadlock wigs lipsynching a song was troubling beyond belief. Even that big green guy Wally, who seems to like attention from the kids too much, looked embarassed to be in the video, which is hard, since Wally has no facial aspect, other than googly eyes and massive amounts of green fur-like fabric. It's funny that the Wally dude wears the same number as Manuel wears out in L.A. now.

And, diary, the fat dying guy wasn't there again, so that train may have sailed, or some such mixed metaphor.

All the guys will be out of town this week, in a different time zone, which means less sleep for me, but they seem to be having fun again, so maybe I shouldn't plan anything for October after all.

Well, diary, it's been fun.



Hey hb... hate to be a pest, but there are an awful lot of typos in the strip today. They kind of distract from the flow of things.

Hope you had a good vacation!

Wow, this strip is so much like my conversation with my best buddy yesterday.

He called me after I got back from San Francisco and said, "you'll have to go to the rest of our games without me."

He's still a die-hard Red Sox fan and always will be, but as he put it, "after trading Manny, I need a fresh start with the team next year."

It's weird, but it's true. However Manny-ish Manny could be, I loved the lug. I will miss him. And I wish him the best.

Say what you will about any "lack of hustle" or whatever, but Manny being Manny meant Red Sox being World Champs twice in four years.

Thanks, Manny. I will truly miss you.

But I'm still going to the games. And I have four left this season before the (dare I say it?) playoffs.

Send requests to me with offerings of gold, franken...well, you know.

Aw man, GN, you just tee'd up such a fat one, I am looking for hb to go all big Papi on your ass.

WTF was up with NESN's Manny retrospective on Sat night after the game? I got sugarshock. You'd think the guy had died rather than bitched and moaned and ridden a pile of cash out of town. I enjoyed the Manny era. I am now just as excited for the notManny era (tm lc)...

(flutters eyelashes at Jason Bay): Hi sailor!

//He called me after I got back from San Francisco and said, "you'll have to go to the rest of our games without me."//

Seems like there was a LOT of similar sentiment when Nomar was traded. How soon we forget.

Why is the parting so acrimonious with so many Red Sox superstars? This administration can't answer for prior years, but the problems with guys like Pedro and Damon were obvious - guys with declining skills or injuries who weren't going to get massive contracts and felt personally offended. There is no room for sentiment in this business. If you hang on to your skills and then know when to retire, they'll undoubtedly have a Day for you. If you're declining and demand a four-year, gazillion-dollar contract, it's sayonara.

As much as many of us are grieving for the loss of Manny the preternatural hitter, are we are also grieving for the loss of the last of a recent run of quirky players? Petey, Millar, Damon, now Manny -- all gone. Many of the other starters are at least interesting if bit quite eccentric: Youkilis (pre-spun by Michael Lewis as the Great God of Walks, plus bald head and cool facial hair), Pedroia (gee-whiz kid brother), Ellsbury (laconic Native American), Coco (brawler), etc. In place of the "characters" we have Drew, Lowrie and now Bay, all of whom to me have a kind of Gomer-ish quality or, like Faulkner's Popeye, with faces liked "stamped tin." It's hard to argue with the results, but I do miss the oh-my-god-what-will-they-do-next factor.

The Red Sox are bigger than any one player. Always have been, always will be. I'm over it and looking forward to ripping off a winning streak and putting the Rays back in their rightful position, looking up at the Red Sox in first place.

Completely unrelated (unless you're making a prediction on the Sox), but a very cool site:


Sorry about all the typos. I forgot to set my alarm last night and, consequently, overslept by 2 hrs this morning.

Meant I had to puke out a strip without any proofing at all in order to get it out before noon.

Meanwhile, the oft-promised redesign is 85% complete. I just need to clean up a few things and we'll be making the switch. I'd say next weekend for sure, but I'm tentatively going out of town so may not be able to work on finishing it up until the weekend after.

//The Red Sox are bigger than any one player. Always have been, always will be.//

Doug's issue isn't so much with Manny leaving as it is the patterns.

1) Sox management uses press to paint a player as "evil"
2) Press assholes like CHB stick to those leaks like flies on the the proverbial shit.
3) Fans swallow it at face value and gather pitchforks and torches and vilify said player.
4) Player leaves under acrimonious conditions.
5) Other players around the league see that and further cement the "who the fuck wants to play in Boston" mentality.
6) Rinse. Lather. Repeat. This has been going on since 1920 at least.

This very well may be the case that Manny was a total asshole who was faking injury etc. But when you look at the long pattern over the years, it can be sobering.

And that so many players, not just Manny, say that playing in Boston is "uncomfortable" because of the borderline psychotic/stalking need a restraining order fan behavior, should give us all pause.

I mean it's great to be passionate, but let's not be idiots about it.

I don't think anyone here falls into that category, but I'm sure we all know at least one person who does.

That is one seriously long and funny mother fuckiing strip, proofing be damned.

And Bob survived the west coast, which is a comfort. I'll take the spare tickets but you have to fly me ovah. (I'll bring the myrrh)

And I'll bring the mirth.

Oh, and the absinthe.

But after proposing to my GF (and her actually accepting), I have to cut down on the expenses for a while. So LC will be paying your way, SDU.

CONGRATS, Bob, to both you and Abby. :)

Random thoughts:

I saw a clip of Manny running furiously toward first base in Dodger Blue. Can't remember the last time I saw that happen. Didn't know he could run that fast.

General commentary seems to indicate that the entire team was glad to see Manny go. Too distracting. Supposedly Theo had a talk before the trade with 4 or 5 senior members of the team and the opinion was 'just do it'. The post-trade Boras story seems to sum up the entire matter. Jason Bay getting a standing O on his first play appearance seems to capture fan sentiment regarding the trade. Well, I miss him. I have a soft spot in my heart for free spirits.

Boston press. Ugh. A bunch of Colonel Dave Egan wannabees.

Talk of Manny getting a hair cut in LA. Is he playing for the Dodgers or just trying out for freshman football? Manny will cut off two month's worth of hair growth - which is the length of his time in LA. Hard to figure out what he will do when in pinstrips next year.

Anyone think that Tek has gotten smaller this year?

Off to the Cell on Saturday to catch the team. Bucholtz pitching?

Congrats, Bob! She must be a big fan of carniverous cookouts. And if she doesn't mind - I'm making the flight home around Labor Day...looking to go to a game.

@Doug's psyche: What about the agents? I'm not a baseball historian but this (drama) seems to have proliferated with free agency.

Thanks, Natalie and Sonomasox.

Sonoma, I have a game the Wednesday after Labor Day (Sept. 3) if you want to go. It's against the Orioles. Afternoon game, too (1:35).

Thanks, Bob. I'm checking w/ my boss/wife - you'll be doing this soon - and I'll get back via email as to avoid comment clutter.

hb, your laundry list for the Sox Divorce Cycle has motivated me to my first post this season. I think managements spin is negligible this time. Manny shot his mouth off and got what was coming to him.
He disgusted me as a fan this season by rolling around on balls, dogging it to first, "knee injuries", taking himself out of games, leaving the bat on his shoulder...the list goes on. I'll even place the blame for his various physical attacks on players and staff squarely on management's shoulders, and still come to the same conclusion. I don't care that he's a 'man-child', 'savant', 'Manny being Manny' etc etc etc. Whatever tag of denial we stick on him, he quit on us, and that is a slap in the face to all of us, stalker psychos, pink hatters, and lifelong fans alike. I've always felt there was a huge sense of deliberate fakeness about him...but I chose to look the other way and not criticize him for it because of his numbers. Not this year.
I don't drink the cool-aid offered by the press geeks and upper management. Manny was coddled for a long time, by management, press and fans. I know his departure was uglier than sin, and helped along quite a bit, but make no mistake that Manny is to blame here.
I know his personality shouldn't matter much, and it hasn't over the years, but it affected us directly this year,and that is unforgivable in my eyes. "Respect" goes both ways. He was only respecting himself. If acting like an asshat gains respect then he should be awarded the Oscar/Grammy/Nobel/Cracker Jack Prize or whatever physical form of 'respect' passes for acceptable in Mannyworld, because unabashed, and at times, undeserved love don't seem to cut it for him. Neither does the gross national product of several small countries apparently.

I don't think yobboes like CHB need to be spoonfed vitriol from Red Sox managment - they do a pretty good job of it all by themselves.

//Other players around the league see that and further cement the "who the fuck wants to play in Boston" mentality.//

Um, what? This is a two-time World Series champion that sells out every night. Bay said he couldn't have landed in a better place if he'd been a free agent. Sean Casey gladly took a backup role to come here. Mike Lowell turned down four years from Philly to re-sign. "Who the fuck wants to play in Boston?" Have you lost your mind?

As jdog points out above, the Red Sox bent over backwards to accomodate Manny for years. Finally they reached the breaking point. Of course as a player, you appreciate and value Manny's great talent. but after a while, if you're out there busting your ass and he's taking time off and bitching and complaining and acting like a 5-year-old, don't you say ENOUGH already?

A lot has changed in Boston since Epstein et al have come in making Boston a more agreeable place to play for players, but that wasn't always the case.

It may be the only city where players have had written into their contracts that they cannot be traded there. (cf. Dave Stewart.)

And in a poll of players from Baseball America from the early 2000s, Boston ranked dead last among players as team/city they'd most want to play for.

Again, as lot has changed, but a lot hasn't.

In particular when you write, "the Red Sox bent over backwards to accomodate Manny for years."

Well, yes, the Red Sox have a longstanding reputation of coddling their superstars when they are performing, but once their skills start to diminish, it can get ugly pretty quickly as we've seen quite often.

That doesn't mean it's wrong. Coddling is one method of success. And dumping guys because they are no longer earning their keep is sound management and it's how you win.

But there are a lot of gray areas in this case as there were in every other case going all the way back to Ruth.

Perhaps it's best to just take the "Manny was a witch, burn him!" attitude and be done with it. If that works for you, great. But I'm trying to use Doug as a vehicle to point out that not every fan feels the same way.

And as Bob mentioned in an earlier comment, there are living/breathing "real" fans out there who feel much the way Doug does.

Gotta agree with jdog. Theo didn't make Manny say the team did not deserve him. Tito didn't make Manny push down an old man or slap Youkilis. Manny clearly wanted out of Boston and he just started pissing on everyone until they finally let him out. Manny did the unforgiveable and quit on his teammates. The hero worship is over and it sucks.

It was like dating a great person for seven years and then one night they come home smelling like somebody else's private parts. No matter how great the previous seven years were, you can't undo the slap in the face and all the good times cannot outweigh the bad stuff. When Manny comes back to town I don't think I will boo him, but I sure as hell am not going to cheer for him.

I'm going to miss Manny but I'm also angry that he acted so out of control that they had to not only pay his salary for the rest of the year but also give up Hansen and Moss.

I work in New York with a bunch of Yankee fans and most of them have said they hope the Yankees do not overpay for Manny. Maybe he'll go on a tear with the Dodgers and change everybody's mind, but I'm not sure there is a big market out there for a guy who can be as crazy as him and will turn 37 next year.

The Sox have taken their hit, but I think Manny will also have a hard time finding the team to pony up the big bucks that he wants after the display he put on this year.

One can only hope.

I miss Manny. But in an odd way, everything will work out fine. Theo & co said Thanks but no thanks to Scott B.

Manny is bringing some life into baseball for Dodger fans.

Jason Bay has an opportunity to play for a World Series defending team.

The club is back to being mellow.

Winning fixes all and thus life is good again?

I know in my head that baseball is a business. But I really miss the 2004 team. Remember the silly hand shakes?


All points well taken hb, Boston was the last place some guys want to play. I think their success over the last few years has changed some of that. Its a different, more Disney-esque world at the Fens these days, and I'd imagine a lot of players are turned off by that. Hell, I am too sometimes. Anyway, the pattern of trashing guys is really sad to witness...and I thought Theo was different in that regard. Either way, you don't replace Manny (when he feels like being a ball player), and mgmts evidence against him was pretty spectacular...combined with what I witnessed myself on NESN, I don't see how you can trust a guy like that to do his job. Any other line of work, he would've been let go a looong time ago (ok, any line of work other than President or Vice President).

Now that Gumby has allowed the Royals to bat around, have we seen enough? Gumby is not ready to compete at this level. Let's bring the knuckleballer up and send Gumby down. That way, Varitek doesn't have to play as much either.

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