Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Airing of Stale Grievances

Jonathan Papelbon had some mean things to say about Manny Ramirez in the paper today. Why anyone, including Papelbon, paid this the slightest attention is beyond me.

Leaving aside the accuracy of Papelbon's statements, about which I have neither clue nor interest, Ramirez's relationhip with his FORMER Red Sox teammates ceased to be news shortly after Ramirez reported to the Dodgers in July, 2008. Had Papelbon issued his condemnation while Ramirez was still in Boston, it would have been news. Now, it's not even history. It's an addenum to a postscript to a footnote to history.

Ramirez is long gone, and since departing his old club and his new one made the 2008 playoffs and he resigned with the Dodgers after a particularly pointless contract negotiation. The chance of Manny impacting the 2009 Red Sox depends on both teams making the World Series. Ramirez is out of Papelbon's life for good. The phrase "let it go" comes to mind, but sadly, it didn't come to Papelbon's mind.

If indeed Ramirez was a terrible teammate (we didn't hear any complaints from the Sox closer following the 2007 World Series), pointing the fact out now casts Papelbon in as bad a light as it does Manny. Nobody is particularly impressed by a character assassin who holds his fire until the target is 3000 miles out of range.

There's another very good reason why ballplayers seldom publically criticized teammates or former teammates they just can't stand. It breeds suspicion among other teammates that the criticizer might be a tad judgmental about them, too.

If Jason Bay starts the year 6 for 38, Papelbon shouldn't be surprised when sportswriters come around asking him about Bay's slump, looking for cheap headlines. He has a rep now.


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