Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Anti-Manny

As has been the case for most of the decade, a Red Sox player started in left field for the American League All-Stars last night. But unlike years past, his play spoke for itself. It wasn't about the lame excuse he gave as to why he couldn't play in the game. Such are the differences between Manny Ramirez and Jason Bay.

I've said it a million times, but my relationship with Manny in the last year has been like a break up with a long time girlfriend. I could deal with his BS, like peeing in the wall and or high fiving fans while making a catch. When the Sox traded him at the deadline last year I was crushed. I said that day that there was no way we could win the World Series without him. I don't remember for sure, but I probably put on some Simple Plan and cried in my room for three hours too.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think that we could get anything as good as Jason Bay back in return. To be honest, my AL East bias told me that Bay was a good player on a bad team. Like Julio Lugo and Edger Renteria before him, I thought he wouldn't be able to handle to the heat from Boston fans and the media.

I could not have been more wrong. Yes his average has dipped quite a bit over the last month, but he still is top ten in the AL in home runs, and leads the league in RBIs. He also scored the game winning run against the Angels in game 4 last year to send Boston to the ALCS. Maybe most importantly, he already has a big hit against the Yankees this season to his credit.

Perhaps even better than his play, is Bay's demeanor. With Manny, you always had to be be prepared that he was going to do something stupid on or off the field. Fans, the media, and even the Red Sox management chalked this up to Manny being Manny. Thankfully, there is none of this nonsense with Jason Bay. The guy just goes out and plays the game. Bay has been a very model citizen while playing in a Sox uniform this year. In fact, his biggest off the field story was the fact that he became an American citizen.

The only question that remains now with Jay Bay is how long he'll be taking the field at 4 Yawkey Way. He is making close to $8 million this year, and he will certainly cash in this off season. In a perfect world, something would get done before the end of this season, so I wouldn't have to suffer another coronary about the Red Sox left field spot. But with Johnny Damon coming up as a free agent this off season too, there's a chance Jason Bay could break my heart worse than Manny by heading to the Skankees, I mean Yankees.

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