Manny says stuff, Francona says stuff. And in this most recent episode, it turns out Manny was logical and well-spoken, whereas Francona packed fallacies and mal mots like they were his last chaw.
Let's start with Tito. "We've run into bumps in the road ever since I've been here and there have been some before I've been here." I know this is an expression, but doesn't one run onto bumps in the road? One falls into holes, runs into friends or brick walls, but onto bumps. Moving on.
Tito continues: "The result of two of the times has been a World Series ring."
But just because the Sox won the World Series after Manny's - or anyone's- bumpiness, that of course doesn't mean that they won because of or as a result of those bumps. This is our fallacy, known as 'post hoc ergo propter hoc', or 'after this, therefore because of this.'
It's like with Jeter. Just because Jeter couldn't field a routine grounder to his left after I said he couldn't doesn't mean that the result of my saying that was Jeter's not having any range. My yelling doesn't cause Jeter's shitty fielding, and Manny's bumpiness didn't cause the World Series victories.
But maybe I'm picking on the word 'result', and Francona only meant- but didn't say (despite talking at the time)- that the Sox have weathered the storm, and have won the Series despite Manny's bumpiness.
Maybe so. Nonetheless, there are two strikes against Francona on this one because what we need most in this media maelstrom is some clear thinking about causality, and muddled thinking and talking on the subject only exacerbates the problem.
For instance, there's all this talk about Manny being a distraction. Presumably, this is bad because this distraction will somehow result in more losses for the Sox. But does Manny's behavior actually affect the team? Is there any evidence for his whatsoever? Does Youkilis stand up there, stroking his bat, thinking:
"Look for the fastball up. He's gotta come with the cheese. Relax. Relax. Quick bat. Pop the clubhead. Open the hips. Relax. You're thinking too much. Get outta your fuckin' head, Crash [Youkilis calls himself Crash.]... Throw that shit again, meat. Throw that weak ass shit. Now he's gotta try to slip the cheese by me. One and one. You're on top. Now bring me the gas --This son of a bitch throws hard... Manny, Manny, Manny. Who is this Manny? Jesus, get outta the box you idiot, where's your head? Get the leftfielder outta your head."
I hope not. Manny causes beat writers to write lousy articles. But that's about it.
Secondly, the rest of Francona's quote was jibberish, which disturbs me. Tito then spake: "As a team, sometimes you fight through things, sometimes you work through things. It's not always perfect, but how you get to the end is what counts and that's what we're trying to do."
Huh? How you get to the end is what counts? It's not whether you win or lose, but how? Really? How much do they pay Tito? And what's the 'that' in 'that's what we're tying to do'? Is it ''How you get to the end'? That doesn't make sense. 'Get to the end'? If so, is he not contradicting the noise he made 1 second earlier by suggesting it's the end, not the how, that counts?
Contrast Manny. "If the Red Sox are a better team without Manny Ramirez, they should trade me."
Absolutely. Only Tampa Bay Yankee fans would disagree with this.
Manny continued "Enough is enough." That's definitely true. A necessary, tautological truth, even.
Manny said: "I could choose a team that offers me the best conditions or one in the chase for the postseason." Manny clearly lays out his options in the form of an exclusive disjunction.
He even said: "I don't care where I play, I can even play in Iraq if need be. My job is to play baseball," and "I don't want to be a problem and a distraction to the Red Sox in such a critical moment of the season. I want to help the team, even if that means I have to go."
Here, Manny selflessly offers his services to wherever Duty takes him, and nobly understands that his true Love for the Sox means that even if they're better off without him, then that's something he must accept.
Also, Francona said this in response to questions about Manny's possible bad mood: "I'm not sure that matters. I'd take a guy that's hitting .500 that's miserable as opposed to a guy that hands out bouquets to his teammates and is hitting a buck 45."
Really? I could have sworn Francona didn't pinch hit Casey for Varitek...