Defending Manny

All it takes is two minutes of listening to Dennis & Callahan before you start to feel like you just took a Josh Beckett fastball to the head. They hammer (and I mean hammer) their opinions into your brain until you give up and walk away because you can not take them any more. Or you walk away because you start to feel your blood pressure spiking to an incredibly dangerous level.

My latest issue with the morning duo on WEEI is their constant bashing on Manny Ramirez from his altercation in the dugout with first baseman Kevin Youkilis. First off, I do not condone Ramirez’s actions but I understand where they are coming from. Confirmed by many sources in the Red Sox clubhouse, the dispute arose when Ramirez confronted Youkilis about his excessive and chronic complaining after things do not go his way at the plate. With the Sox up by six runs against the Rays, Ramirez did not figure it was necessary for Youkilis to be kicking and screaming about flying out to right so he said to Youkilis “cut that [expletive] out.”

Unlike Gerry Callahan wants you to believe, Ramirez did not walk up to Youkilis and sucker punch him or slap him. There is no right or wrong opinion but when the opinion has no factual basis it turns wine to water. It takes two to tango, Gerry. Manny is not the only guilty party in this. Youkilis had to have said something in response to Ramirez’s comment that provoked the outburst. It is illogical to think that a person walks up to a co-worker and punches them without motive.

Secondly, I have to say I am not the biggest Kevin Youkilis supporter. I, too, like Manny, abhor the outbursts after a ground out, fly out or strike out – especially when the strike out is looking. (If you strike out looking and you disagree with the umpire’s call that is your fault, you should have swung.) But I do understand – unlike Callahan – where both players are coming from.

From Ramirez’s point-of-view, it is understandable to approach a teammate and say “cut that out,” if you have an issue with the way he is conducting himself after a poor performance. There was no harm or malice involved in what Ramirez said. He was not out to get Youkilis, he was just telling his teammate what others probably wanted to say but did not.

But then again there is Youkilis’s side of the situation. He is a hot-tempered, confrontational player who performs at his all time best when he is emotional. That emotion at times can get under the skin of teammates, as in this case, and he does not know that. When Ramirez informs Youkilis, instinctively, the first baseman goes on the defensive, saying or doing something that offends and provokes Ramirez.

In the moment, they both were wrong with the actions and should have walked away from the situation while their emotions were boiling and discussed things behind closed doors. Because they did not do this, the situation reached its boiling point and all hell broke loose in front of the cameras.

Now that I have played Dr. Phil for the day. I believe it is time to get back to baseball.

Red Sox return to action tomorrow night when they welcome the Baltimore Orioles to Fenway Park for the three game series. Josh Beckett (6-4) gets the ball in game one against Daniel Cabrera (5-3) in a re-match of the Red Sox’s 5-2 extra innings win on May 30. Game two will see Bartolo Colon (3-1) against left hander Garrett Olson (5-1) while Jon Lester (4-3) and Jeremy Guthrie (3-6) close out the series before the Sox re-start interleague play on Friday against the Cincinnati Reds.

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